Conviction upheld in ‘exorcism’ torture death of 13-month-old girl

Religion News Blog — The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has upheld the conviction of a man found guilty in the 2008 beating death of his girlfriend’s 13-month-old daughter.

In May 2010 Blaine Keith Milam, who was 20 at the time, was sentenced to die by lethal injection for killing 13-month-old Amora Carson, the daughter of his girlfriend, Jessica Carson.

KLTV report, Dec. 3, 2008

The child, Amora Bain Carson, was beaten with a hammer, sexually assaulted, and bitten more than 20 times.

Too many injuries

During Milam’s trial forensic pathologist Dr. Keith Pinckard testified there were too many injuries suffered by the 13-month-old to give a definitive cause of death.

The Tyler Morning Telegraph said

Pinckard testified Amora’s injuries constituted the worse case of child abuse he had ever seen.

The doctor told jurors Amora had 18 breaks in her ribs and at least 24 human bite wounds covering her body.

Dr. Pinckard said it appeared she had been strangled as well as having suffered multiple skull fractures, brain injuries, a torn liver, her arms and legs had been twisted to the point of breaking, her retinas detached and internal injuries from apparently being sexually assaulted with an object authorities believe was a pipe wrench.

The Longview News-Journal says that though his conviction was upheld Milam still has other appellate avenues, including a Write of Habeas Corpus pending in the 4th Judicial District Court, and he may seek a direct appeal as far as the U.S. Supreme Court.

Jessica Bain Carson

In April last years Carson received an automatic sentence of life in prison without parole after a jury convicted her of capital murder.

Defense attorneys contended at the time that Carson was dominated by Milam, and that he convinced her the child was possessed by a demon. However, special prosecutor Lisa Tanner said the exorcism was Carson’s idea, rather than the product of brainwashing by Milam.

The Tyler Morning Telegraph reported that the couple bludgeoned the little girl to death with a hammer and other objects and bit her more than 20 times in the most grotesque murder the seasoned officers can remember.

Officers found the girl after they responded to a 911 call regarding a child that was not breathing.

The couple told detectives multiple stories of how the child suffered the injuries — ranging from a car accident to an attack by the family’s dogs. Milam and Carson also told officers someone must have harmed they child when they had left it unattended, and later said the child beat itself on the head with a hammer.

Officials said Carson then told them Milam was performing an exorcism that went badly and then the two drove to Henderson to pawn some items to afford a priest to exorcise the child. Investigators determined the child was already dead when they two left their home.

Texas mom convicted in daughter’s “exorcism” death

A 20-year-old woman received an automatic sentence of life in prison without parole Wednesday after an East Texas jury convicted her of capital murder in the sexual assault and beating death of her infant daughter, the Associated Press reports:

A Rusk County jury found Jessica Carson guilty of capital murder in the December 2008 death of her 13-month-old daughter, Amora. Carson’s boyfriend, Blaine Milam, is on death row after his conviction for capital murder in the death, which Carson believed was an exorcism.

Prosecutors didn’t seek a death sentence for Carson. In closing arguments Wednesday, special prosecutor Lisa Tanner said that although Milam was the one who beat the child with a hammer and bit her about 30 times, Carson promoted, aided or tried to aid the crime. […]

Defense attorneys contended Milam dominated Carson and convinced her that her child was possessed by a demon. However, Tanner said the exorcism was Carson’s idea, rather than the product of brainwashing by Milam.

The Tyler Morning Telegraph says:

The jury foreman in a capital murder trial involving the brutal beating death of a 13-month-old described the experience as “the worst two weeks of my life.” […]

Ms. Carson’s conviction came after attorneys made their closing arguments.

At least two Rusk County jurors wiped their eyes while Texas Attorney General Prosecutor Lisa Tanner described how Ms. Carson “sacrificed her daughter to a monster.”

She told the jury she was sorry they have had to sit through the evidence, but there was no way they would have seen why Ms. Carson was guilty if prosecutors didn’t show the horror. […]

Ms. Tanner said Milam inflicted the injuries on Amora, but Ms. Carson is just as responsible because she was a party in the crime.

She said the case is about capital murder and boils down to one question: “Did she (Ms. Carson) know he was going to hurt Amora or did she know he was hurting Amora?”

Even if jurors never heard testimony or interview statements from Ms. Carson, she said, there was “more than sufficient evidence” to convict her as a party.

Ms. Tanner also noted that Ms. Carson lied to law enforcement officials and the 911 operator, which she said shows evidence of guilt beyond being a mere bystander. She said Amora had been dead a long time when help arrived, which is different from what she relayed, and she was seen giving Milam a kiss after Amora’s death.

She also said the crux of the case is that Amora’s death was not immediate.

Ms. Tanner also said that having an exorcism for Amora and coming up with a cover story were Ms. Carson’s ideas, based on her interview with former Texas Ranger Kenny Ray. She also said Ms. Carson was with Milam when he pleaded guilty to an unrelated charge and was told he had to register as a sex offender.

Ms. Carson told officials she saw Amora in the midst of the exorcisms, Ms. Tanner said, noting Amora was killed in a small trailer, where it would have been easy to hear what was happening.

“There is no way objectively speaking she didn’t know (what was going on),” she said. […]

Killingsworth also made closing arguments, telling jurors he was sorry for photos they had to see in the case.

He talked about Ms. Carson meeting Milam, who she thought was “her prince charming.”

He told jurors they heard testimony that Milam was never anything but a loving father to Amora.

He said Milam, a “suspicious and controlling person,” started to treat Ms. Carson badly and that evidence shows Milam used the couple’s Ouija board to strengthen his control on Ms. Carson.

Killingsworth said in December 2008, Milam convinced Ms. Carson that Amora had a demon in her.

Ms. Carson has said she thought Milam was helping her baby and that he would never hurt Amora.

Death sentence in baby ‘exorcism’ murder

Blaine Milam Labeled by prosecutors as a “monster” who deserves “the ultimate penalty,” convicted murderer Blaine Keith Milam was sentenced late Thursday night to die by lethal injection for his role in the beating death of his girlfriend’s daughter.

Milam, 20, was convicted of capital murder May 17 for killing 13-month-old Amora Carson, the daughter of his girlfriend, Jessica Carson. [Read more...]

Expert: Meth use may have led Milam to murder toddler

Blaine Milam Chronic use of methamphetamine by Blaine Keith Milam may have played a factor in his actions leading to the death of 13-month-old Amora Bain Carson, a psychology professor testified Monday.

During the sentencing phase of Milam’s capital murder trial, Paula Lundberg-Love, an expert in psychopharmacology and professor at the University of Texas at Tyler, explained the effects drug use has on the brain and behavior, including “believing there were demons and that demons were changing the facial structure of the child,” she said. [Read more...]

Expert Testifies On Drug Effects In Baby Exorcism Murder Trial

Blaine Milam During Friday’s proceedings, the defense had Dr. Patricia Rosen, a toxicology expert, testify about the effects methamphetamines have on a person and to describe the levels found in Milam after he was taken into custody in 2008.

Dr. Rosen said a user of methamphetamine at the levels Milam had in his systems could experience hallucinations and other delusions. [Read more...]

Focus Shifts To Mom In Baby Exorcism Killing

Jessica Carson and Blaine MilamPostpartum psychosis with delusions, including demonic possession with the ability to talk to the dead, is how a psychiatrist described the mental health of Jesseca Carson when her 13-month-old daughter Amora was brutally beaten and strangled to death in December 2008.

The psychiatrist testified in Blaine Milam’s capital murder trial Wednesday in a Montgomery County courtroom as Milam’s defense team attempted to shift the blame of the death from their client to Ms. Carson. [Read more...]