MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Following 20 days of testimony against accused child murderer Geralyn Graham, the state announced Tuesday afternoon that it was resting its case.
Jurors heard from numerous witnesses who testified against Graham who is accused of killing 4-year-old Rilya Wilson. The foster child had been in the care of Graham and her former lover Pamela Graham when she went missing in 2002. The state charged Geralyn Graham with first-degree murder three years later after a jailhouse informant told prosecutors that Graham had confessed to killing the child.
And while Rilya Wilson’s body has never been found, the state is hoping jurors believe the testimony from three jailhouse informants who are serving time for committing violent crimes.
A third jailhouse informant took the stand Tuesday morning and told jurors that when she was assigned to share a cell with accused child murderer Geralyn Graham she overheard her make incriminating statements.
Graham, 66, remained stoic as convicted murderer Ramona Tavia shared details about the night in 2003 when they shared a cell. Tavia said Graham appeared to be sobbing uncontrollably and kept saying that “she had to protect Pam and kill the baby for Pam. Pam is sick. Pam is weak.”
Graham was referring to Pamela Graham, her former lover and official foster parent for Rilya Wilson.
Tavia, who is serving a life sentence for her role in a 1994 murder, also testified that earlier Graham had told her that a Department of Children and Families worker had taken the child.
“I was angry. I felt like the lady lied to me,” Tavia told jurors.
Defense attorneys plan to begin their case with testimony from investigators who were unable to find Rilya’s remains or any forensic evidence.
It’s uncertain if Graham will testify. She insists she is innocent and has claimed Rilya was taken from her home in early 2001 by a state child welfare worker who never returned her. Investigators say there’s no evidence to back that up.
Monday, a jailhouse informant testified that Graham wasn’t afraid of being charged with murder because she was confident the girl’s body would never be found.
Convicted murderer Maggie Carr, who received training as a law clerk while in jail, said she had several conversations with Graham in early 2005 about the law involving murder cases in which remains are not found.
Carr, who is serving 25 years to life, said Graham was confident the body had decomposed and that no one would care because Rilya was only a poor foster child. “She was nonchalant, like it didn’t matter,” Carr said. “They weren’t lengthy conversations. They were snippets of conversations.”
She went on, “She told me that they were trying to get her for murder,” Carr told jurors. “And that no one would care because it was a crack addict child.”
When Carr asked more questions, Graham allegedly replied that “the critters” would have taken care of the body.
Rilya Wilson’s body has never been found.
Defense attorneys tried to discredit Carr.
During cross-examination, defense attorney Scott Sakin called into question Carr’s credibility by pointing out to jurors that she was convicted of “pre-meditated first-degree murder.”
Carr admitted to fleeing the country to avoid prosecution and slipping back into Florida in hiding.
“So once you came back, you attempted to hideout in Miami?” Sakin asked Carr.
“Correct,” she said.
Sakin also hinted to jurors that Carr who is in for life may stand to benefit from her testimony.
“Are you trying to tell this jury that you wouldn’t like the State Attorney’s Office to tell the governor that you were helpful in this case?” Sakin asked.
“That’s not what I’m telling the jury sir,” Carr said.
But when state prosecutor Josh Weintraub questioned Carr in redirect, Carr said guilt in her own case and the age of the victim in this case prompted her to testify against a fellow inmate.
“Basically, I was a coward, today I’ve chosen not to be a coward. That’s why I’m sitting here,” Carr said tearfully. “Because it’s a child, it’s a child.”Graham faces life in prison if convicted.