IMAGE: China Arnold
Ron Alvey  /  AP file
China Arnold talks with her defense attorney, Jon Paul Rion, during a court session last Jan. 31.
updated 8/11/2008 11:31:28 AM ET 2008-08-11T15:31:28

Jury selection began Monday for the retrial of a woman accused of killing her month-old daughter by burning her in a microwave oven.

China Arnold, 28, is charged with aggravated murder in the 2005 death of her daughter, Paris Talley, and could face the death penalty if convicted. She has pleaded not guilty.

Her retrial in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court comes six months after a judge declared a mistrial in her initial trial, saying new evidence had surfaced to bolster Arnold's innocence claim.

Visiting Judge John Kessler declared the mistrial Feb. 11, just as closing arguments were to begin, after he privately heard testimony from a juvenile who said he was at Arnold's apartment complex the night the baby died.

The judge did not give details about the juvenile's testimony. The Dayton Daily News reported that a man had told defense attorneys his 5-year-old son claimed to have found the baby in the oven and pulled her out. The newspaper said the boy identified an older child as the person who may have put Paris Talley in the oven.

Decried as 'fanciful'
Assistant Montgomery County Prosecutor David Franceschelli called defense claims that someone else may have been responsible a "fanciful" account contradicted by evidence.

Both prosecutors and defense attorneys have been barred by the court from talking publicly about the case.

During Arnold's first trial, prosecution witnesses said she admitted killing the baby by putting her in the microwave.

Arnold did not testify, but defense witnesses said she told them she had nothing to do with the baby's death, didn't know how it happened and had expressed shock when told the child may have been burned in a microwave.

Defense attorney Jon Paul Rion said other people had access to the baby, that people questioned about the case had changed their stories, and that Arnold was intoxicated to the point of blacking out when the child died.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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