The death penalty phase in the murder trial of Christopher Cheary began Wednesday in Tulare County Superior Court.
Cheary, 25, was found guilty Monday of murdering 3-year-old Sophia Acosta, his girlfriend’s daughter, who died of blunt force trauma five years ago.
The jury found true special circumstances of sexual penetration with a foreign object and torture.
The prosecution called several witnesses Wednesday, including Cheary’s ex-girlfriend Ericka Smith. They had lived at an Exeter apartment with her two children.
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The death penalty phase will resume Monday. Cheary could be sentenced to death or to life in prison without the possibility of parole.