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Trial in Death of Alpine Toddler Reaches Final Day

In the trial’s final day, a jury heard two very different arguments Friday about who’s responsible for the death of an East County toddler — two versions of what led to Leah Brown-Meza’s death.Leah was found dead in a motorhome, in Alpine, in December 2016. Note with ‘Ugly’ Slur Left on Scripps Ranch Student’s Locker Prosecutors say Leah’s mother’s boyfriend, Wiliey Foster, killed the little girl. He’s charged with murder and child abuse resulting in murder.But in closing arguments at Foster’s trial, defense attorney Gretchen von Helms blames Leah’s mother, Lillie Brown, for the toddler’s death. Car Splits in Two in Deadly Clairemont Crash The defense said Leah suffered a broken arm, bruises and abrasions, and a serious fall days before her death. But von Helms said Leah’s mother did not get medical care for her injured daughter.Von Helms told jurors that Foster loved his girlfriend’s baby, took good care of her, and would never hurt her. The veteran defense attorney reminded jurors about testimony from a pathology expert who said Leah’s death was consistent with the injuries she allegedly sustained while in her mother’s care. Motorcyclist Hit by Semi-Truck in Otay Mesa Dies “Wiley Foster never hurt that baby, never disciplined that baby, never kicked that baby in the head so it fell over and (hit) its head,” von Helms said. “He never grabbed (Leah) by the arm. Never did anything to that baby.”But prosecutor Chantal de Mauregne said the evidence shows Leah died of complications from a serious head injury that happened the day before her death, when Foster was taking care of her.”These are the injuries that killed this little girl,” de Mauregne told the jury. “These are the injuries that he caused on the night of Monday, Dec. 5.” On Dec. 6, 2016, around 12:05 p.m., the toddler was found not breathing in a motorhome parked on a property in the 300 block of Hunter Lane. Brown told deputies she woke up to find Leah unresponsive and called authorities for help. Paramedics tried to revive the toddler, but she was later pronounced dead.Investigators said the toddler had injuries on her body.The child’s biological father, a member of the Jamul Indian Village, shared joint custody with Brown. Leah was the great-granddaughter of the man who led the tribe over three decades and helped establish it as a band in the Kumeyaay Nation.Leah’s paternal great-grandfather, Kenneth Meza, is currently the Vice Chair for the Jamul Indian Village, one of 13 bands of the Kumeyaay Nation. He served as Chair of the tribe for more than 30 years and was instrumental in getting the band recognized by the federal government.Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego/Brown Family Photo
Source: NBC San Diego

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