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Rome mother's fate in jury's hands

Jurors went home around 4:40 Thursday afternoon, without reaching a verdict in the criminally negligent homicide trial of Brooke Renzi.

Posted: Oct 31, 2019 6:12 PM
Updated: Oct 31, 2019 6:14 PM


Jurors went home around 4:40 Thursday afternoon, without reaching a verdict in the criminally negligent homicide trial of Brooke Renzi. The Rome woman is charged in the death of her six-month-old daughter, Elaina Dyer. The baby was found dead, lodged between a mattress and toy box, in August of 2018. Renzi had put her to bed on the mattress around 9pm the night before, and didn't check on her until around 11:37 the next morning.

Attorneys made closing arguments on Thursday. Defense attorney, Matthew Fanelli, told jurors the baby's death was a tragic accident, and that her mother's actions didn't rise to the level of criminality.

"The risk has to be of such nature that it has a substantial and unjustifiable risk of death," said Fanelli.

Fanelli referred to medical examiner testimony, stating that it took baby Elaina about eight minutes to suffocate to death, saying that there was only a 10-minute window where, if someone had gone into the room where the child was sleeping during that time, the tragedy could have been prevented.

"The act of checking or not checking under these circunstances does not increase or decrease the risk that this will occur. Elaina could have just as easily rolled and falled off this mattress 10 minutes after she was laid there," said Fanelli.

Prosecutor, Dawn Lupi, argued that Brooke Renzi's conduct did rise to the level of criminality; criminal neglect.

"Elaina Dyer died because her mother, the defendant, put her in a perilous situation, walked away, closed the door and virtually forgot about her for 14 1/2 hours," said Dawn Lupi.

Lupi asked jurors to reflect on the day they put in, in court, on Wednesday, in order to illustrate how long the baby was left alone.

"Think about yesterday. You came in here about 10:00 yesterday morning to start hearing evidence and I think we let you go home around 4:00. Seems like a long day, right? It was six hours. Double it. Add a couple. That's how long that baby was alone in that room."

The jury will resume deliberations at 9:00 Friday morning.

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