UPDATED: Woman found guilty on all charges, some reduced, in child abuse case

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) — Updated 4:50 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 28:
Echo Terry has been found guilty of all 15 charges against her Tuesday afternoon. Some of the charges were reduced to lesser charges.

The highest-level offense she faced was second-degree assault, which covered recklessly causing injury. But the jury did not find her guilty on charges of first-degree assault, which would stipulate an extreme indifference to human life.

Three first-degree assault charges were reduced to fourth-degree, a misdemeanor.

The case isn't over, though. The jury and court will reconvene Wednesday to consider aggravating factors, which could potentially add to Terry's final sentence.

Her sentencing date has not yet been set.

Original Story Monday, Aug. 27:
Closing arguments were delivered Monday in the trial of 31-year-old Echo Terry, accused of starving and abusing her three adopted daughters.

The jury is now deliberating the case after listening to testimony from more than a dozen witnesses over the last few weeks. In her closing remarks, assistant district attorney Anna Cometa said photographs of the girls’ malnutrition and injuries, as well as testimony provided by doctors and the victims themselves, proves that Terry is guilty of the charges she faces.

“You heard Dr. Baldwin-Johnson say that these girls needed to be hospitalized and treated,” Cometa told the jury. “That’s how you know that they had a serious impairment of health. They spent four days in the hospital each.”

But Terry’s defense attorney, Gary Soberay, argued that the doctors called by the state to testify were not impartial witnesses, because they worked for child advocacy groups. He also argued that the medical experts who testified were not familiar with re-feeding syndrome, a dangerous illness the victims were diagnosed with.

“They didn’t tell you all of the facts,” Soberay told the jury. “Remember, the truth is not just a sliver in time. The truth is not just part of a story. The truth is not just one day. The truth is a period of time.”

Soberay argued that prosecutors ignored evidence showing that Terry was a dedicated parent who provided the children with enough food and stimulation while homeschooling them. Prosecutors say she socially isolated the children and withheld food as punishment.

“After they were adopted, you heard that Ms. Terry withdrew them from school. You heard that she didn’t take them to a doctor. You heard that doctors were calling her to take at least one of the children back and she didn’t,” Cometa told the jury.

Closing arguments wrapped up at around 1 p.m. Monday afternoon, and the jury spent the rest of the day deliberating without returning a verdict. Deliberations will continue Tuesday morning.



 
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