Wesley Mathews, the Indian-American father who was sentenced to life in prison over the killing of his three-year-old adopted daughter Sherin Mathews in the US state of Texas, has requested a new trial.
The man was sentenced on June 26 over his daughter’s death in October 2017 after pleading guilty to a lesser charge of injury to a child by omission. He was also accused of hiding his daughter’s body in a ditch in Richardson under a road about one kilometre from their home in suburban Dallas.
Authorities had originally charged him for capital murder.
However, in a court motion filed this week, attorneys for Wesley Mathews, 39, requested a new trial, arguing that evidence presented against him was “prejudicial”, the Dallas Morning News reported.
Mathews’ attorneys argue that he deserves a new trial in part because prosecutors showed the jury a photo of Sherin Mathews’s decomposed body. “The picture was prejudicial and prevented Mathews from getting a fair trial”, the man’s lawyers say.
“Jurors expressed visible emotion when shown the exhibits,” said Brook A. Busbee, one of Wesley Mathews’ attorneys.
Wesley Mathews and his wife Sini adopted the girl in June 2016 from Bihar. Sherin Mathews disappeared on October 7, 2017, and her foster father initially told the police that he had sent her out in the wee hours of the morning as punishment for not drinking her milk.
On October 22, 208, Sherin Mathews’ body was found in the culvert in Richardson.
Wesley Mathews then admitted to the police that the child choked while he was making her drink milk and died in their home. He reportedly told the police that he wrapped the girl’s body in a blanket and placed her inside a culvert not far from the family’s home.
In June 2019, he avoided a full-fledged trial by pleading guilty to the lesser charge of causing a felony injury to a child. That time he told the jury how much he regretted dumping the 3-year-old’s body in a culvert and said he would be “more than happy” to accept life in prison if the jury decided so.
During his trial, Wesley Mathews had claimed he had prayed over his adopted daughter’s body in the hope that she would be raised from the dead like Jesus Christ raised Lazarus in the Bible.
Wesley Mathews’ wife Sini was also charged with child abandonment but her case was dismissed earlier this year due to lack of evidence.