DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The man accused in the beating death of his girlfriend’s daughter in March 2016, has been found guilty of capital murder.
Charles Wayne Phifer was sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing 4-year-old Leiliana Wright.
“I don’t think life in prison is worth it. I think he should have the death penalty,” said Brian Maker, Leiliana’s father after the sentencing. “I’m not getting my daughter back. I won’t ever get to walk my daughter down the aisle.”
The judge presiding over the case said, “This is the worst case that I’ve ever seen. What you did was unfathomable, inhuman and savage. Life in prison seems insufficient.. hanging a little girl in closet is savage.. you should die in a locked closet.”
“It was my privilege to support the team of professionals who came together to seek justice for Leiliana,” said Assistant District Attorney Eren Price. “This is not a story about drugs. This is a story about a little girl who didn’t deserve this. She was an innocent victim.”
Leiliana’s mother, Jeri Quezada will be sentenced to 50 years in prison for pleading guilty to felony injury to a child as part of her plea bargain.
Testimony in the trial ended last Thursday with gruesome autopsy photos that documented how the 4-year-old suffered before enduring the fatal blows.
“You can beat anybody to death,” concluded Tarrant County Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Marc Krouse.
Dr. Krouse performed the autopsy on the child and left the witness stand to stand near the jury box while showing the photos, and explaining what they revealed.
The child’s body was covered from head to foot in bruises, abrasions and whip marks, some of them inflicted before the night she died.
The jury saw photos of the ligature marks on both wrists and according to earlier testimony, Leiliana had been beaten and tied up in a dark closet while her mother, Jeri Quezada had gone out for a steak dinner with family.
According to the medical examiner’s report, Leiliana was hit or kicked so hard that her belly wall slammed into her spine.