By one vote, the jury is deadlocked on the murder charge against the Kendall woman accused of murdering foster child Rilya Wilson.
Jurors, in a note to the judge Thursday afternoon, said they are deadlocked by a vote of 11-1 in the murder count against Geralyn Graham.
The note also said that the jury has reached verdicts in the other charges of aggravated child abuse and kidnapping. Not wanting to declare a mistrial just yet, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Marisa Tinkler Mendez instructed jurors to keep deliberating through dinner until at least about 8 p.m.
Graham, 67, is charged with aggravated child abuse, kidnapping and first degree murder. She faces life in prison. Jurors retired to begin deliberating at 10:45 a.m.
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Defense lawyer Michael Matters, in his final argument Wednesday, ripped the state’s key witness, Robin Lunceford, a convicted armed robber who testified that Graham confessed in jail to smothering the girl with a pillow.
“Every bit of the story she concocted about my client is absolutely unbelievable,” Matters told jurors. “She graduated from prison life with a master in manipulation and a doctorate in deceit.”
Lunceford, an eccentric con who was doing life in prison, testified in exchange for a 10-year plea deal on armed robbery case.
The body of Rilya, whose disappearance sparked turmoil at the Florida Department of Children and Families, has never been found.
Miami-Dade prosecutor Sally Weintraub said Lunceford learned intimate details known only to a few people. That included an episode — backed up by other witness testimony — in which Graham grew angry because Rilya wanted to dress as Cleopatra, not an angel, for Halloween.
“Robin Lunceford is big, loud, aggressive, obscene, in-your-face, unpleasant. The kind of person you might just write off,” Weintraub told jurors. “How you feel about her is not what you have to consider … what the testimony is, the defendant’s words, that’s what you must consider.”