Verdict: Man found guilty of aggravated manslaughter in child's death
FORT PIERCE, Fla. (CBS12) —
Guilty! Wednesday night foster father Michael Beer was taken away from St. Lucie County court in cuffs after a jury found him guilty of killing the two-year-old in his care. The murder case shocked the community four years ago.
Jurors deliberated for about seven-and-half hours after hearing closing arguments Wednesday afternoon. Their guilty verdict was read aloud at 8:45 p.m.
The trial focused on how two-year-old Trysten Adams died from internal injuries. The defense argued it was from CPR compressions, the prosecution argued it could have been a punch or a kick from Beer. “Obviously my client is very disappointed by the verdict we were hoping he would go home today,” said defense attorney Lance Richard.
Richard says he plans on appealing the case, and the fact the jury found Beer guilty of aggravated manslaughter, but not aggravated child abuse raises questions. “The verdict to me doesn’t make a lot of sense, I’m not sure how they reached that conclusion, because they found him not guilty on one charge but then found him guilty on another charge so I am not sure how they reached that conclusion,” said Richard. He says he plans to appeal the case based on an error in court.
However, the prosecution was happy with the verdict, although the jury didn’t find Beer guilty of homicide, instead the lesser charge of aggravated manslaughter. “On behalf of the State Attorney’s Office we are satisfied,” said prosecutor Romero Bernie.
Michael Beer faces a maximum of 30 years behind bars. He will be sentenced on August 30 at 1:30 p.m.