Wesley Mathews, the Indian-American foster father, sentenced to life after his 3-year-old daughter Sherin Mathews was found dead in a culvert in 2017, has filed a motion for a new trial, US media reported, less than a month after he said he would accept any punishment jurors chose.
In a case that attracted much international attention, Wesley Mathews, 39, pleaded guilty on June 24 to a lesser charge of injury to a child in Sherin Mathews' death.
He was originally charged with capital murder by authorities in the US state of Texas after they discovered Sherin Mathews' highly decomposed body after a massive search that lasted 15 days.
Wesley Mathewsm sentenced on June 26, appealed the sentence with his attorney also filing a motion for a new trial, The Dallas Morning News reported.
Wesley Mathews and his wife Sini Mathews, both hailing from Kerala, adopted Sherin Mathews from an orphanage in Bihar's Nalanda district in 2016.
In a motion for a new trial, Wesley Mathews' appeal attorney, Brook Busbee, stated that he should be granted a new trial because the "photographs of the remains of the decedent, both where her body was discovered and in the autopsy suite" were so prejudicial as to deny him a fair trial.
At least two jurors were visibly affected when shown the graphic images, NBC News reported.
The images were not shown to the audience in the courtroom.
Busbee also stated that jurors were shown evidence that Sherin Mathews suffered "fractures from before she died. There was no evidence" that linked Wesley Mathews to the injuries and "introduction of that evidence unfairly prejudiced the jury."
Wesley Mathews' legal team will not go into details at this time as to what reason or evidence they have to petition a new trial, simply that they are "looking at all options," the NBC report said.
Wesley Mathews has also been appointed a new attorney in his appeal process. Attorney Michael Casillas has requested all records pertaining to the case and trial, it said.
After telling the 12-member jury how much he regretted dumping Sherin Mathews' body in a culvert near their home in Richardson city, Wesley Mathews testified that he would accept life in prison.
"I'm more than happy to take it," Wesley Mathews had said.
He initially told police that Sherin Mathews went missing on October 7, 2017, after he put her outside their home at 3 am because she would not drink her milk. When he checked in on her 15 minutes later, Wesley Mathews said Sherin was missing.
He later admitted she died when he "physically assisted" her in drinking the milk and got choked.
He said fear prevented him from waking his wife, Sini Mathews, a registered nurse, or calling 911 for help. Instead, he drove Sherin Mathews' body to the culvert and dumped it there. Her body was found by a cadaver dog two weeks later, severely decomposed.
Police charged Sini Mathews with child abandonment in November 2017, after she told officials that the couple left the toddler alone the night of her death while they went to dinner with their biological daughter.
Sini Mathews' case was dismissed in March this year after prosecutors said they could not prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.
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