Jailhouse Informant In Rilya Wilson Trial Stands By Story
MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The trial of Geralyn Graham for the death of foster child Rilya Wilson has recessed until the new year as of Thursday evening.
Robin Lunceford, a jailhouse informant, took the stand again Thursday for cross-examination in the murder trial of Geralyn Graham, accused of killing foster child Rilya Wilson.
Lunceford has testified that Graham confessed to her about killing Rilya. Lunceford said she was proud to stand up for Rilya, regardless of any consequences for her.
However, defense attorney Michael Matters’ line of questioning Thursday portrays her as a habitual snitch and untrustworthy witness. He accused her of striking a deal with prosecutors in exchange for her testimony to reduce her life sentence. She turned down an offer that would have kept her locked up for 15 years.
“That was a hell of a lot better than life wasn’t it?” Matters asked.
“I wasn’t happy with it,” Lunceford replied.
“Obviously, you weren’t because now you got 10,” Matters said.
Lunceford shrugged and said, “yes.”
Lunceford said her motivation for testifying centered on the fact that a child had been murdered, despite the retribution she said she has suffered for being a “snitch.”
“I don’t hide it and I’m not ashamed of it,” Lunceford said. “I’ll stand up loud and produce for Rilya Wilson no matter what I go through.”
Lunceford will be back on the stand for more cross-examination starting at 10 a.m. on January 2, 2013.
A day earlier, state prosecutors said she had not been offered a plea and was convinced by her defense attorney who made her feel guilty because a child had been killed.
“He basically begged, cussed, ranted, raved, and made me feel guilty because it’s a child,” Lunceford said.
Lunceford testified Wednesday that 66-year-old Graham told her while both were in jail that she smothered the 4-year-old girl with a pillow because Rilya was evil and mentally troubled. She also said Graham confessed to her that she disposed of the body near water.
“She whispered to me that she walked up to it (Rilya) and smothered it with a pillow,” Lunceford said in testimony Wednesday.
Lunceford said she took notes of her 2004 talk with Graham and read back parts of it to the jury which included, “She wants them to find the grave so it can be over. It’s eating her up inside.”
Lunceford continued saying Graham told her she gave Rilya “a proper burial in an area that was familiar to her, where Pam used to go fishing…that she buried it by the water because it represented peace.”
Lunceford is considered one of the prosecution’s key witnesses by defense attorneys claim the 50-year-old career criminal made up the story to get her own habitual offender prison sentence reduced from life to 10 years.
Graham faces life in prison if convicted of killing Rilya, whose body has never been found. Graham claims a state welfare worker took the girl and never returned her. Police say that is not true.
The girl’s disappearance caused a statewide scandal because child welfare officials did not realize she was missing for nearly 15 months, eventually leading to changes in the way foster children are monitored. Other child welfare reforms also followed.