Judge: Couple could face death penalty in toddler's murder - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Judge: Couple could face death penalty in toddler's murder

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KANNAPOLIS, NC (WBTV) -

A man and woman could face the death penalty after a toddler was "brutally attacked" and died two days later from her injuries.

Thirty-year-old John Travis Turner and 20-year-old Alisha Nicole Carlisle faced a judge on Wednesday morning in Rowan County.

Judge Charlie Brown told Turner and Carlisle they could face the death penalty if they were convicted of their crimes.

The pair is charged in the death of 15-month-old Malaya Faith Heun.

Investigators say Malaya was assaulted on January 19, 2014 and died two days later of complications from blunt force trauma and hypovolemic shock.

Turner and Carlisle have been charged with first degree murder, felony child abuse and assault with a deadly weapon.

Chief of Police J.W. "Woody" Chavis called Heun's murder "one of the worst cases of child abuse I have seen in over 30 years being a police officer."

"I have seen many abused and battered children during my career but this one was extremely disturbing knowing how much this baby must have suffered before she died," Chief Chavis told WBTV.

Turner was appointed lawyer Rick Locklear for his defense. Carlisle was appointed attorney Doug Smith.

"They want the judge to immediately appoint someone to represent the person and he is actually being housed somewhere down in Cabarrus County," Locklear told WBTV.  "I did not have an opportunity to speak with him."

Locklear said that he and Smith may only represent their clients until counsel is appointed through indigent services.

If District Attorney Brandy Cook decides to seek the death penalty, then two lawyers would be appointed for each suspect.

Reached by phone Wednesday afternoon, Cook cited North Carolina judicial standards that prevent her from commenting on pending cases.

Carlisle is the Malaya's aunt. Police say the suspects were Malaya's sole caretakers at the time of the injuries.

Police don't think her mother knew about the abuse.

Copyright 2014 WBTV. All rights reserved.

 

Copyright 2014 WBTV. All rights reserved.

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