Charles Phifer trial starts today for a North Texas male implicated two years ago of beating his ex-girlfriend’s child to death. The male suspect was originally indicted for felony injury to a young girl. A grand jury has since included a capital murder charge.
Cops and prosecutors said 4-year-old Leiliana Wright was killed in her Grand Prairie home in March 2016 after she consumed her little bro’s juice box, badly beaten and this wasn’t the first-time physical abuse arose in the house.
36-year old Charles Phifer is charged with brutally beating his sweetheart’s daughter, Leiliana Wright, with a belt and a bamboo stick on March 12, 2016. The mom, 32-year old Jeri Quezada took a plea deal, in hopes of a lesser charge, admitting to helping her boyfriend in her daughter’s death, and accepted affirm versus Phifer.
At the time, Phifer and her mother were presumably high on heroin. Two years ago they were both detained, Charles Phifer who at the time was 34, was arrested and being booked into the Grand Meadow Prison with bail set at $1 million.
His girlfriend, 30-year-old Jeri Quezada, was jailed March 25, 2016, and stays jailed with bail set at $500,000.
Quezada, while serving a six-year prison sentence for trespassing and a robbery, gave birth to Leiliana in a Galveston healthcare facility in January 2012. Leiliana was raised by her paternal grandparents, and Quezada was offered custody of the kid when they released her in 2013.
Grand Meadow authorities reacted to a house in the 2200 block of 14th Street not long after midnight March 13 on a report of a kid having trouble breathing. The Mother of the victim told arriving medics that her child had fallen in the shower, according to an arrest warrant carried out by Investigator B. Makovy. The emergency crew observed extreme bruising on her face and stated she was not breathing.
Leiliana was rushed to Medical Center of Arlington where she was pronounced dead at 1:07 a.m. of what would, later on, be ruled blunt-force trauma to her head and abdomen.
Before the night of her death, the mother of the child stated, she took Leiliana and her 18-month-old child to visit Phifer about 11:30 a.m. March 12. She mentioned to authorities the couple shot up heroin in the restroom, while the kids waited outside the door.
Quezada told authorities she and Phifer later started striking Leiliana with a belt and bamboo due to the little girl taking a drink of her little brothers juice. She said she then left her daughter with Phifer while she ran errands “since she knew that she could not take the kid out in public due to the bruising on the kid’s face.”
When she returned to the boyfriends home from running errands, she mentioned that Charles had tied the little girl up in the closet, so she allowed him to offer her another a shot of heroin given that the kid couldn’t see her “mother doing drugs,” court files reveal.
The mother informed the investigator when her child was let out after the two finished getting high the child stated she was hungry, so she made the lady half of a peanut butter sandwich. She stated when her child had uncomfortable swallowing, she slapped the girl’s chest and struck the back of her head, telling her to swallow her food.
She then shared a shocking statement, which stated her boyfriend placed on black gloves, and violently forced the kid’s mouth open and poured Pedialyte into her mouth. Quezada informed the investigator her child later vomited, after which Phifer lifted the girl by her throat with one hand and shoved her against the drywall.
She then told authorities that Phifer then threw her daughter back in the closet, where the girl remained for about 15 to 20 minutes.
She said she was getting pajamas for Leiliana as the girl later showered when she heard Phifer in the bathroom, stating “Get you some of this” followed minutes later by the sound of the little girl falling, police stated.
An autopsy exposed the kid had substantial bruising from head to toe and whip marks on her back, even finding sexual abuse evidence.
Leiliana’s child abuse case slipped through the cracks at Child Protective Services and triggered public outrage. It also sparked an investigation and modifications within the company.
CPS acknowledged an overloaded system caused caseworkers to overlook a pattern of serious abuse.
Numerous managers resigned or were fired. The firm also increased the variety of caseworkers and cut the typical caseload for investigators by more than half– from 32 to 15.
If convicted, Phifer is facing up to life in prison. The state is not looking for the death penalty.