AKRON, Ohio - The Ninth District Court of Appeals unanimously upheld the murder conviction of a Summit County woman who shook a toddler to death who she babysat for a neighbor.
Tiffani Calise was earlier convicted of murder, involuntary manslaughter and two counts of child endangering in the death of 23-month-old Aaliyah Ali.
"I am pleased that the Court of Appeals agreed with my office and Judge McCarty that the jury was correct in finding Ms. Calise guilty," said Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh. "It is always a terrible sadness when a child is murdered, and now Aaliyah's family will not have to relive that sorrow through another trial or sentencing."
In Aug. 2011, a jury convicted Calise, then 20, in the 2010 death of Aaliyah, a neighbor Calise was babysitting.
Four medical experts testified at Calise's trial that Aaliyah's fatal head injuries were not caused by a fall in a bathtub, as Calise claimed, rather were the result of violent shaking.
Judge Alison McCarty sentenced Calise to life in prison.
Calise appealed the judge's decision to exclude expert testimony of an expert in biomechanics who attempted to recreate Aaliyah's alleged slip and fall in a bathtub. The appellate court ruled that McCarty was correct in excluding the testimony because it was not based on sound scientific principles.
The appellate court also found that Calise's convictions were supported by the evidence, particularly the testimony of the State's four medical experts, three of whom are physicians at Children's Hospital.
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