Family still claims woman sentenced for toddler’s murder is innocent

Updated: Feb. 8, 2021 at 12:16 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Earlier this month, T’Kia Bevily was charged with capital murder for killing her 14-month old stepdaughter, Jurayah Smith.

However, the family claims T’Kia was wrongfully convicted, and they are now fighting to prove her innocence.

”We don’t understand how the jurors could come to the decision that they made,” said Christopher Smith, T’Kia’s brother.

They have now started a hashtag that reads #IStandWithKia. Smith said it is a rallying cry trying to clear her name.

”I know my sister is innocent because she loved Jurayah,” he expressed.

T’Kia and her husband Morris, the toddler’s father, are both accused of committing the crime. The 14-month-old died back in 2017.

In court earlier this month, investigators said Jurayah received multiple blunt-force injuries to her head, and was killed while in custody of T’kia and Morris.

”I know my sister is innocent because she would never hurt anyone like that,” said Smith. “I know my sister is innocent because I know her character.”

T’Kia was sentenced to life in prison without parole, and has already started serving her sentence.

Sunday, Smith made strong claims regarding T’Kia’s case and conviction. Smith said he doesn’t believe there’s definitive evidence connecting her to the crime.

”They stated that the skull fractures had bleeding and that it could have been up to eight days prior, that the bleeding was old and that the healing had already occurred, multiple doctors stated that in trial,” said Smith. “The day before Jurayah had passed away, Jurayah had been passed to three homes. It’s clear that no one was thoroughly investigated besides T’Kia, and throughout that investigation they didn’t find nothing tying T’Kia to the death besides the circumstantial piece of evidence that the child passed away in T’Kia’s home. That’s all they have.”

We reached out to the Daniella Shorter, the district attorney, multiple times on Sunday for a comment and her reaction to the family’s claims, we are still waiting to hear back from her.

Morris Bevily was scheduled to stand trial this past week for his murder charge, but it was been postponed. Shorter did not specify why the trial did not start.

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