Saturday, September 22, 2012
UNENE HADI AWEZI KUPITA MLANGONI
Innocent: TLC have made a documentary about Mayra Rosales, the 1,100lb woman who confessed to a crime she didn't commit to protect her sister and was found innocent thanks to her weight
'I should be punished, I did wrong,' Mayra sobbed at the time as law enforcement officials took her tears to be those of guilt and a media storm was ignited.
'Why isn't this woman in jail?' Demanded Nancy Grace at the time.
'Could they even give her enough poison to execute her,' asked another pundit.
But there was more to the story than met the eye, her attorney Sergio Valdez realised, after doctors announced the cause of Eliseo's death.
Not going anywhere: Mayra (pictured with her husband Bernie) told police that she killed her nephew by accident by rolling on top of him while babysitting
Getting to the bottom of it: She later confessed to lying to protect her sister when her attorney Mayra¿s attorney Sergio Valdez (right) realised her testimony did not back up the cause of death established by doctors
The story behind Half-Ton Killer? is at once a crime thriller about sibling loyalty and a medical drama about Mayra's journey from condemnation to freedom in January this year.
After lying to the authorities, Mayra eventually confessed the truth: that she had invented the story to protect her sister Jaime, whom she claimed had struck the boy various times over his body with a hairbrush earlier the same day.
In 2008, shortly before tragedy struck, Mayra and her husband Bernie had moved in to live with sister Jaime in Sullivan City.
Jaime had undertaken a full-time role caring for her when Mayra became so large she struggled to walk.
Despite the fact that Mayra was almost entirely bed-ridden, Jaime would often go out, leaving Mayra in charge of her four children.
Murdered: An autopsy revealed that Eliseo Jr, left, was killed by a blow to the head, not by being crushed in a fall
'I was more of a mother than Jaime,' Mara said in an interview with the UK's Reveal magazine. 'Whenever she wanted to go out or go shopping, she didn’t take the kids. She would always leave them at home with me.'
But events took a horrific turn in March 2008, when Mayra witnessed her sister hit Eliseo Jr. ‘Jaime was giving my nephew breakfast and he didn’t want to eat,’ says Mayra. ‘I told her if he was crying he wasn’t going to eat, but she got mad, got a brush and hit him on his arms, legs and head which left a bump. Afterwards, she got his Winnie the Pooh blanket, covered him up and put him to bed. Then she went out, leaving me with the children.'
Later that day, Eliseo Jr began suffering from breathing problems and Mayra phoned for an ambulance. Jaime phoned her sister from the hospital, sobbing that the police would not let her see her son unless she told them who had hurt him. Jaime begged Mayra to tell the authorities she was responsible for the injuries.
In a move she would come to bitterly regret, Mayra accepted.
‘People may not understand this but I wanted to help my sister and I didn’t want the authorities to take the other children’ says Mayra.
‘I told the investigators that I rolled over to the edge of my bed to where Junior was and my hand slipped and I fell on him with my hand. I fell. I was the one to blame. But only by accident.'
Mayra was subsequently arrested and charged with capital murder.
The story quickly incited a media frenzy with speculation to her guilt flying freely.
But as the trial progressed, the court heard that the fatal injuries sustained by the boy were consistent with a blow to the head and could not have been caused by someone falling on him.
Front door: Authorities had to cut a whole in the side of her sister's house to get Mayra out and take her to hospital to be treated for chronic obesity-related issues
Manpower: Mayra had been living at her sister Jaime's who, she later confessed, beat her little boy with a hairbrush so severely for not eating his food that he dies from head trauma
'It would have required her to have to swing her arm to strike the child on the head but she could never move her arm in that manner,’ says Mayra’s lawyer Sergio Valdez.
‘We knew that her size was her best defence because she couldn’t move her arm.'
Despite the physical impossibility of Mayra committing such a crime, the authorities had to conduct a full trial, with Mayra as the chief suspect.
Months went by before a courtroom was found that was large enough to accommodate Mayra, and doors and walls had to be removed to fit her in.
Finally, Mayra could testify. But as a result of her testimony, Jaime went on the run, leaving Mayra facing the possibility of a death sentence.
'I wasn’t surprised,' says Mayra. 'Jaime is into a lot of bad things and I understood why she did it.'
As the trial date approached, prosecutors became suspicious at Mayra's account that she fell on Eliseo Jr. Mayra decided at that point to come clean with a confession that would incriminate her sister.
Emergency: A team of doctors help move Mayra who was able to attend the court proceedings only because they took down walls to accommodate her
Loyal: When ambulances rushed Eliseo Jr to hospital after he was found not breathing, Mayra's sister Jaime called her begging her to cover for her which she willingly did so that the other children were not taken away
Partners: Mayra's attorney urged her to stop lying or she would face death in prison alone