Thursday, December 13, 2007

Riley Sawyers: Mom, Stepfather Claim Their Innocence

Riley Sawyers

Now that capital murder charges have been filed in the case of Riley Sawyers,'Baby Grace,' it's interesting to look back and see when and how the attorneys of Kimberly Trenor and Royce Zeigler began to defend their clients to the "court of public appeal' or potential jurors.

The defense of Kimberly Trenor began back at the end of November on the 28th when her attorney, Tom Stickler, told the media, four days after Trenor and Zeigler's arrest that there “there was no intentional desire to kill Riley.” [1]

Trenor gave a three hour videotaped interview on November 23. Accompanied by Stickler, Trenor's statement was used as probable cause in the arrest of both Trenor and Zeigler.

In the Affadavit to arrest Trenor and Zeigler on the charges of Injury of a Child, Trenor maintains that she and Zeigler spent at least 2 - 4 hours "beating" Riley. That she, Trenor, only engaged in hitting her little girl with a leather belt and holding Riley's head underwater while it was Zeigler who picked Riley up by her hair and threw her across the room, her tiny head hitting the tile floor. Trenor states that Riley was put "face first on her bed" and also "face first into the couch" but no mention in the affidavit of who it was who did this to Riley. According to Trenor, Zeigler gave Riley children's pain medication and that after Riley was dead, Zeigler laid a "purple towel" over the little girl's body. [2]
Trenor described her husband, Royce Zeigler, 24, as “authoritarian,” and said he was unaware of her decision to talk to authorities. [1]

According to Trenor, Zeigler stayed home from work on July 24 because his wife was not spanking Riley with a leather belt as his discipline plan directed.

That day, he used a second leather belt to whip the child, because the first one wasn’t big or thick enough to get the response from Riley that he wanted. [1]

Kimberly Trenor Ziegler's attorney, Tom Stickler, says that after the child was battered and her limp body wrapped in black trash bags and placed in a plastic storage container back in July, her stepfather, Royce Zeigler of Spring, poured concrete into the box before stashing her in a backyard shed for a month or two. [4]

Weeks later, after the couple drove to Galveston one late night and tossed the child off the Causeway, the stepfather panicked because the box didn't sink -- it floated west of the bridge, Stickler said. Royce Zeigler, 24, told his wife he should have put holes in the box, the lawyer says. [4]
Stickler says Trenor went along with the plan to dispose of her daughter’s remains because she was scared of her husband, whom she had married only a month before.

Stickler said his client “wanted to tell somebody from the beginning.” [1]
Court documents indicate that Zeigler attempted suicide the weekend before his wife spoke to investigators, leaving a note that said, “My wife is innocent of the sins I committed.” [1]
Juxtaposed against Trenor's attorney's statements, which paint Zeigler as the "leader," is Zeigler's attorney maintaining his client's innocence.

Neal Davis III, Zeigler's attorney, said Trenor's story isn't believable, from the information included in a chilling arrest affidavit.

"She is placing all the blame on Royce, but I think that once the facts come to light, once the timeline's established and the evidence is combed through ... I think her credibility is gonna become a big issue," Davis said. [3]
The day after the Galveston County Grand Jury returned with Capital Murder indictments Zeigler's attorney appealed to the future jury pool who may sit and a decide his client's fate.

"The death of this innocent child, however, was absolutely not caused by any action attributed to my client," Neal Davis III said in a statement. [4]

Zeigler's attorney Davis maintains his client's innocence:

Zeigler "is positively not guilty of the offense for which he stands charged," Davis added.[4]
Trenor's attorney claims the mother of Riley Sawyers had "no intentional desire" to kill her little daughter.

Zeigler's attorney claims his client is "positively not guilty of the offense he stands charged."

Neither one of these statements tells us that their clients are not guilty of killing little Riley Sawyers, only that Trenor's desire wasn't intentional and that Zeigler is not guilty of capital murder, at least as far as his attorney is concerned.

Any statements released by either attorney on behalf of their clients are tailored to appeal to the potential jury pool, the people who will someday be sitting in judgment of their clients.

At this point these are merely statements while the facts are a little girl is dead while the two people who were there, her mother and step-father, now claim they are both innocent. We won't know if the attorney's work at softening the potential jury pool in favor of their clients has worked until the foreman of the jury stands before the judge and reads the final verdict.

Whatever the verdict the only truly innocent in this sad story was Riley Sawyers.


Source - 1 - KHOU-TV
Source - 2 - DBKP - Riley Sawyers: Capital Murder Charges and Probable Cause
Source - 3 -
Source - 4 -


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