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.
The death penalty phase will resume Monday. Cheary could be sentenced to death or to life in prison without the possibility of parole.