CLEVELAND--A Cuyahoga County judge convicted a woman and her boyfriend in the death of her 4-year-old daughter.
Sierra Day, 24, and Deonte Lewis, 27, were found guilty of aggravated murder, murder, felonious assault, permitting child abuse, endangering children and tampering with evidence.
They will be sentenced on March 20 at 12:15 p.m.
“This verdict should send a message to those in our county that we will not permit our children to be harmed. If you hurt our children, we will prosecute you in every way we can," said Aqueelah Jordan, assistant prosecuting attorney.
The case gained nationwide attention, emphasizing the need for fathers' rights and putting Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services under the microscope.
"You had a father, Mickhal Garrett, who fought every step of the way for his daughter. What made this compelling is his fight and Aniya," Jordan said.
During the trial, prosecutors called to the stand first responders, forensic experts, and social workers to detail the years of abuse Aniya Day-Garrett endured.
Emergency crews responded to an apartment on Lakeshore Avenue in Euclid on March 11, 2018 for an unresponsive child. But it was too late, Aniya wasn't breathing. Paramedics said they tried to revive her and she was pronounced dead at the hospital. She had burn marks on her feet and legs, and appeared emaciated.
One pathologist said Aniya suffered a stroke, which caused her to lose the ability to walk, talk and eat. She weighed just 26 pounds when she died.
Mickhal Garrett told the jury he filed a complaint with Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services and a report with East Cleveland police when he noticed signs of abuse during a visit with his daughter. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services determined the agency failed the little girl.
Get Ready, Set, Grow Childcare Center and the Harbor Crest Childcare Academy lost their day care licenses for not reporting signs of neglect and abuse.