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Testimony Resumes In Geralyn Graham Trial

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Geralyn Graham in court on Monday, Dec. 10, 2012. (Source: CBS4)

Geralyn Graham in court on Monday, Dec. 10, 2012. (Source: CBS4)

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South Florida Crime

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — After a two-week break, jurors in the Geralyn Graham case were back in court Wednesday as they heard more testimony from jailhouse informant Robin Lunceford.

Graham faces a first-degree murder charge in the death of foster child Rilya Wilson who was 4 when she went missing and whose body has never been found.

Lunceford is the state’s key witness who in earlier testimony said Graham, 66, confessed to her about killing Rilya Wilson.

Lunceford has testified that Graham told her 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.

Lunceford who has given detailed testimony about the Graham’s conversations with her, had lapses in her memory and at one point, conflict with what she recalled in court Wednesday and what she said in a CBS4 News interview in May of 2005.

“Did you ever tell anyone Ms. Lunceford that my client said she buried it close to water because it would cleanse the soul.” Matters asked.

First, Lunceford responded no and then added, “I don’t know if I said that or not. I can’t remember.”

In a telephone jailhouse interview with CBS4 News in May of 2005, Lunceford said Graham had told her that she had buried the child near a lake so that it would “cleanse her soul.”

Judge Marisa Tinkler-Mendez is expected to rule Wednesday on whether to allow the interview to be played for jurors.

On Wednesday, defense attorney Michael Matters cross-examined Lunceford who said Graham reacted strongly after her former partner Pamela Graham who was Rilya’s official caretaker spoke to police.

“But you do know that Pam had gone to the police and told them things that caused my client to get her arrested,” Matters asked Lunceford.

“She said that Pam had better be careful, she could go down also,” Lunceford said.

Lunceford who has been convicted of multiple armed robberies has traded her testimony for a lighter prison sentence from life to 10 years. It’s a fact that defense attorneys argued Wednesday made Lunceford less credible.

In profanity-laced letters to prosecutors, Lunceford threatened to stop cooperating if her prison conditions were not improved.

“F— you. F— you State Attorney’s Office. F— you, Bruce. F— your plea,” Matters said reading back a letter she wrote after agreeing to the plea in March of 2011.
When he asked her if she wrote that letter, Lunceford replied, “Hmmm, that sounds like many that I wrote.”

Lunceford who has been convicted of multiple armed robberies has traded her testimony for a lighter prison sentence from life to 10 years. It’s a fact that defense attorneys argue make Lunceford less credible.

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 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 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.

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