Weatherford Democrat

AP Story Section

January 26, 2009

Jury selection to start in Texas ‘Baby Grace’ case

GALVESTON (AP) — A mother accused of brutally beating her 2-year-old daughter to death and then dumping her in Galveston Bay faces life without parole if convicted of capital murder in the “Baby Grace” case.

Jury selection was to begin Monday in the trial of 20-year-old Kimberly Dawn Trenor, the mother of a toddler known as “Baby Grace” after her remains were found more than a year ago.

Prosecutors say Trenor and her husband, Royce Clyde Zeigler II, tortured Riley Ann Sawyers to death in July 2007 during a discipline session that went horribly wrong. They are accused of then putting the body in a plastic container and hiding it for a month or two in a storage shed at their home in the northern Houston suburb of Spring before dumping the remains in the bay 70 miles away. A fisherman found the container on a tiny island about a mile from shore in October 2007.

Trenor’s attorney, Tommy Stickler Jr., said his client is not responsible for Riley’s death and puts the blame on Zeigler.

According to the arrest affidavit, Trenor said she and Zeigler used two leather belts to beat Riley and held her head under water. But she claims it was Zeigler, the child’s stepfather, who grabbed Riley by her hair and flung her across a room onto a tile floor.

An autopsy concluded Riley died when her skull was fractured in three places.

Zeigler’s attorney, Neal Davis III, points the finger at Trenor. Zeigler will be tried later.

Trenor and Zeigler are being held in the Galveston County Jail under bonds of $850,000 each.

Galveston County District Attorney Kurt Sistrunk declined comment about the case before the trial starts.

The toddler was given the name “Baby Grace” by authorities during the weeks they worked to identify her badly decomposed remains.

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