Trial begins for T’Kia Bevily, accused of killing 14-month-old stepdaughter
MONROW COUNTY, Miss. (WLBT) - A second trial is underway for a Claiborne County woman accused of killing her stepdaughter.
T’Kia Bevily is charged with killing 14-month-old Jurayah Smith. She’s facing a capital murder charge. The new trial began Monday in Monroe County.
Day one of the trial consisted of jury selection. More than 300 people were vetted during this process. Of those, 12 will be selected to be on the jury.
They will determine whether T’Kia Bevily is innocent or guilty of the crime.
The jury selection process lasted for more than nine hours on Monday.
The case dates back to 2017.
In October of that year, Jurayah Smith died while in the care of her father, Morris Bevily, and his wife, T’Kia. Investigators say Jurayah received multiple blunt-force injuries to her head.
In May of 2019, the Bevilys turned themselves in. Both were charged with capital murder.
Then, in January of 2021, T’Kia was found guilty of killing her stepdaughter and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
However, months later, in September of that same year, a judge overturned the conviction due to jury misconduct.
Evidence came forward suggesting a juror was related to the victim, baby Jurayah.
Court records show the juror was the victim’s great uncle, even though he did not reveal that fact during jury questioning.
A judge then issued a new trial, which began Monday. T’Kia’s legal team asked for a change of venue because they didn’t believe they’d get a fair trial in Claiborne County.
As a result, the trial was moved nearly four hours away to Monroe County.
Jurayah’s father Morris, who was also charged with capital murder, was supposed to stand trial in 2021 after T’Kia’s. So far, he has not gone to trial. Still no word on why that is.
Court will resume Tuesday morning at 9:30 a.m. We will be following this trial throughout its entirety.
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