Jury reaches split verdict in the trial of three adults charged in death of eight-year-old
FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va. (WVVA) - After three years, the case of Raylee Browning is closed.
Medical experts determined that eight-year-old Raylee Browning died from sepsis due to necrotizing pneumonia. She was pronounced dead at Plateau Medical Center in Oak Hill on December 26, 2018. Her condition was noted as “severe” by experts, and photo evidence presented in court depicted that her lung tissue had started to die as a result of her prolonged illness.
Raylee’s biological father, Marty Browning, his wife, Julie Titchenell Browning, and her sister, Sherie Titchenell were charged in December of 2019 for their alleged involvement in Raylee’s death.
While they were tried as co-defendants, each faced two felony charges: death of a child by a parent, guardian and custodian by child abuse and child neglect resulting in death.
After a week of witness testimonies and a morning of closing arguments on Monday, the jury deliberated for three hours before returning with their verdict.
All three were found guilty of the lesser charge of neglect. They face three to 15 years in confinement.
“I feel very confident that we got a just outcome here,” said Brian Parsons, Special Prosecutor who represented the State of West Virginia in the trial. “I think they saw the case the way I saw it. There were allegations of abuse, but the linkage between that abuse and the death was tenuous, but the allegations between the neglect and the death, I thought, were pretty patent.”
While the three were found guilty of the lesser of the two charges they were facing, Parsons says the system failed Raylee. During trial, it was revealed that multiple referrals were made to Child Protective Services (CPS) concerning Raylee. None of them resulted in any findings of abuse or neglect.
“We need to have a mechanism to make sure that our kids are being properly educated and properly protected in our out of the public school system,” he explained.
“I hope that, out of this, there continues to be concerns raised and importance placed on taking care of children who are in homeschooling and aren’t in the public school system because they’re an at-risk population.”
The Brownings and Miss Titchenell are preparing to seek parole. They are currently being held without bond.
Their sentencing is scheduled for Monday, August 8, 2022, at 9 a.m. in front of Judge Paul Blake.
Defense counsel was given the opportunity to make a statement following the verdict. They declined, but reserved the opportunity to do so after sentencing.
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