Jury finds Sheila Ealey guilty of capital murder - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Jury finds Sheila Ealey guilty of capital murder

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Ealey could be sentenced to life in prison without parole. Ealey could be sentenced to life in prison without parole.
District Attorney Michael Guest says Ealey then placed the baby in a comforter, placed it in a trash bag, then inside a suitcase. District Attorney Michael Guest says Ealey then placed the baby in a comforter, placed it in a trash bag, then inside a suitcase.
CANTON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -
A Madison County jury has found Sheila Ealey guilty of capital murder in the death of her son.

Ealey suffocated her newborn baby by putting him in a suitcase and leaving his body behind a Madison County church.

Ealey was immediately sentenced to life without parole. Prosecutors were not seeking the death penalty in the case.

The state and the defense both rested Wednesday, but Thursday morning, the prosecution called two rebuttal witnesses. Closing arguments were held Thursday afternoon and the jury got the case around 3 p.m.
 
Jurors had five options. They could've found her guilty or not guilty, or not guilty by reason of insanity. The insanity option has three possibilities -- one that she 'has been restored to her reason', or is now sane.  The second, that she is still insane, or thirdly, that she is still insane and is a danger to the community.

The state's last witness Wednesday, Dr. Feng Lei, testified that Ealey's baby died from asphyxiation or suffocation after being wrapped in a comforter then placed in a garbage bag and put in suitcase.

Defense attorneys rested after calling just two witnesses. The first was Ealey's son.  The second was a psychologist, Dr. Gerald O'Brien, who performed a mental evaluation on Ealey after the baby died.

Wednesday Dr. O'Brien testified that she showed signs of depression and anxiety, but he could not determine without a doubt, that she was insane at the time she gave birth.

During testimony it was also revealed that Ealey had an unwanted pregnancy in 2006.  Ealey gave birth to that child in her Flora home, then took him to University Medical Center where the baby was given up for adoption.

The trial was delayed several times while doctors tried to determine her mental state when the crime happened.

District Attorney Michael Guest says two doctors determined she was not insane. He say's a third doctor found she was close to insanity.

During opening statements, prosecutors said Sheila Ealey hid her pregnancy from everyone she knew. They say on June 26, 2010, she drove to the Super 8 motel in Gluckstadt where she gave birth to a little boy.

Guest says Ealey then placed the baby in a comforter, placed it in a trash bag, then inside a suitcase. They say she took the suitcase and placed it behind Smith Chapel Baptist Church.

Madison County Sheriff's Department investigator Robin Welch said Ealey told him she heard the baby cry twice, once during birth and again when she placed the suitcase in her car.

Defense attorneys contend Ealey was a single mother with an unsupportive boyfriend, who was determined to be the father of the baby boy after DNA testing.

They also say she was abducted and raped at gunpoint and was unsure if the baby wasn't the result of the attack.

Copyright 2013 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved.

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