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Mother found not guilty of toddler's death

By Stephanie Valle, Anchor and Reporter, StephanieV@kvia.com
Published On: Aug 02 2013 08:09:09 PM CDT
Updated On: Jan 15 2014 10:46:36 PM CST

Reporter: Jerry Najera

EL PASO, Texas -

A mother accused of beating her daughter to death was found not guilty of capital murder, but was convicted of injury to a child.

A jury reached the verdict in the trial of Lorraine Merjil, 23, Thursday evening in the 34th District Court. They had entered deliberations this afternoon.

The sentencing phase of the trial will begin Monday.

Prosecutors stated that in July 2011, Merjil had punched, kicked and elbowed her daughter Desiree, who was 20 months old, because she would not stop crying and go to sleep. Investigators said Merjil had checked on the toddler in the middle of the night and found her cold and lifeless.

Merjil's defense said during the trial that it was Merjil's then-boyfriend, Jorge Sanchez, who was responsible for Desiree's death. Sanchez testified during the trial that he witnessed Merjil beating her child in the past, but that the night of Desiree's death it was "the worst he had seen."

Sanchez was found guilty of injury to a child by omission and was sentenced to 10 years probation.

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