Defense for China Arnold begins in microwave baby case

Prosecutor gets witness to admit lie.

DAYTON — China Arnold’s defense team began presenting witnesses Tuesday after assistant Montgomery County prosecutors rested their case against the woman accused of killing her infant daughter in a microwave oven.

If Arnold, 31, is convicted of causing the death of 28-day-old Paris Talley on Aug. 30, 2005, she could face the death penalty.

This is her third trial.

Jason Sroufe, who lived next door to Arnold in the since-demolished Parkside Homes, testified that he never saw the baby’s father give a house key to his sister, Lionda.

Last week, Terrell Talley said he gave her a key and asked her to check on Arnold and the baby and return it to him. Talley said he went to another apartment where he sold drugs and Lionda brought the key to him there.

Her testimony supported his version of events.

Sroufe told defense attorney Jon Paul Rion he was with Terrell Talley on Aug. 29, 2005, between the time Talley and Arnold returned from a local park and Talley left to go to the other apartment.

“It’s been so long,” Sroufe said. “I can’t recall it. I never seen him hand a key.”

During cross-examination, Sroufe acknowledged to Assistant County Prosecutor David Franceschelli he told juries in Arnold’s first two trials that he had been drinking heavily and the night’s events were a “blur” to him.

“I was an alcoholic then,” Sroufe said.

The defense then presented Cierra Lowe, an inmate in the county jail with Arnold in late 2006, when Arnold had a verbal clash with another inmate, Ashley Nicole Parks.

Monday, Parks testified for the state that someone said “something about the microwave,” and Arnold responded, “I didn’t mean to do it,” which led Parks to yell at Arnold.

Lowe testified that Parks told her a day prior to the argument that she was “going to find a way to get China to tell her that she killed her baby” because a corrections officer said that would be a good way to get her sentenced revoked.

But during cross-examination by Franceschelli, Lowe said she didn’t meet Kimberly Hunter, another witness, until they were in the jail together in 2006.

Franceschelli confronted her with her testimony from one of Arnold’s previous trials, when Lowe told a jury that Hunter was a friend of her mother and that she met Hunter when she was 10.

Lowe conceded that she lied to the jury.

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