Main Witness Takes the Stand Bedford Co. Baby Death Trial

Josh Cheek

Reporter: Jeremy Mills

(6:00 p.m. Wednesday) Bedford Co., VA - Prosecutors continued making their case Wednesday against a Bedford County woman they say killed her eight-month old baby three years ago.

Day two of the Cecelia Burnette murder trial wrapped around 5:00 p.m. Wednesday.

Burnette is accused of shaking baby Marissa so violently that she caused her to go brain dead.

The main witness to take the stand Wednesday was Burnette's ex-boyfriend Josh Cheek. He's a key player in the case because he was the one watching baby Marissa when she stopped breathing.

Cheek is also the one the defense maintains should be standing trial.

The murder trial of Burnette will come down to who the jury believes more.

Burnette's defense wants to pin the blame on Josh Cheek.

"She stated that I know he didn't mean to do it on purpose, that he was scared," Former Bedford City Investigator Deputy Kevin Young explained.

In his testimony, Cheek pointed out that Burnette had been reckless with the baby before.

"She tosses me Marissa, I'd say about two yards away and says I can't get her to stop crying. You get her to stop crying. And if I hadn't caught her, she would have hit the ground," Cheek said.

The prosecution sent up a parade of witnesses pointing out how Cheek was the one who took pride in the little girl he was helping to raise.

"The one day that I said how beautiful she was, it kind of got brushed off by Ms. Burnette. Josh said thank you very much," neighbor Dana Ramey said.

Marissa's babysitter Brenda Lacy even testified about how little Burnette did for her child.

"When she brought her, it was first thing in the mornings so she didn't do anything. I fed her, changed her, everything," Lacy said.

The jury also heard testimony from an investigator who says Burnette let something slip during one interview.

"She did make the statement, you know 'I was shaking her several times,'" Young said.

That investigator says Burnette later changed her story, saying she meant to say she was rocking the baby trying to stop her crying.

In a strange twist, Commonwealth's Attorney Randy Krantz took the stand Wednesday. He testified that even though he is related to Cheek, he has prosecuted him in the past and no preferential treatment has been given.


(11:30 a.m. Wednesday) Bedford Co., VA - The murder trial for a mother accused of killing her baby is continuing Wednesday in Bedford County.

Cecelia Burnette is charged with the murder of her 8-month-old daughter back in September of 2008.

Burnette's boyfriend took the stand on Wednesday morning. Joshua Cheek testified that Burnette actually threw baby Marissa at him one time. Cheek was the one who called 911 when Marissa was unresponsive.

Prosecutors said Tuesday that Burnette shook the baby so violently that she went brain dead. The defense has tried to establish that Cheek is to blame for Marissa's death.

The trial is expected to last until at least Thursday. Stay tuned to ABC 13 for the latest from court.