EUCLID, Ohio-- A mother and her boyfriend were convicted in the murder of 4-year-old Aniya Day-Garrett on Thursday. But the work is not over for Aniya's father and his attorney.
The little girl died on March 11, 2018. Forensic experts said she suffered blunt force trauma to her head, had at least one stroke, and her body was covered in burns and bruises. Aniya was also emaciated, weighing just 26 pounds.
A Cuyahoga County jury found Sierra Day, 24, and Deonte Lewis, 27, guilty of aggravated murder, murder, felonious assault, permitting child abuse, endangering children and tampering with evidence.
"This is really the first step in holding everyone accountable for what happened to Aniya Day-Garrett," said Paul Grieco, attorney for Mickhal Garrett. He called the verdict bittersweet as we near the anniversary of the child's death.
Aniya's father didn't want to speak on camera on Friday, but Grieco described Mickhal's reaction.
"He's happy with the verdict. I think you saw when the verdict was announced yesterday the sense of relief, thankfulness. He's doing as well as can be expected," Grieco said.
As they left the Justice Center, Grieco said people honked their horns and stopped to talk to Mickhal, whose become an outspoken advocate for reform to Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services.
Grieco said there was evidence of ongoing abuse a year before the little girl died, and other parties should be held responsible, including child services and social workers. A scathing report from Ohio Department of Job and Family Services detailed how the system failed Aniya.
"Justice for Aniya isn't over," the attorney said.
He said they will continue to push for better training, communication, management and follow-up at Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services.