A Gwinnett County man has been convicted of killing his premature 12-week-old daughter, the district attorney’s office said.
Reuben A. Valrie III, 32, was convicted of cruelty to children, aggravated battery and two counts of felony murder on Oct. 25 after a week-long trial.
Aliyana Valrie, who was born 11 weeks premature, died on Jan. 15, 2014. She was in Reuben Valrie’s sole custody for the entirety of that day, the DA’s office said. Reuben Valrie called 911 that evening and told the operator that Aliyana Valrie was “dead.”
Emergency medical workers arrived less than 30 minutes after the call was placed. They found Aliyana Valrie’s body temperature was 84 degrees and performed CPR before transporting her to Gwinnett Medical Center, the DA’s office said. She was later pronounced dead.
An autopsy determined that Aliyana Valrie died from blunt force trauma to the head, chest and abdomen. There was a “massive” amount of blood on her brain, Gwinnett County Medical Examiner Carol Terry testified at trial. The 12-week-old also had at least four fractured ribs and a liver that was so severely damaged that multiple medical experts described as “pulverized,” the DA’s office said.
Reuben Valrie’s defense argued that the rib and liver damage were likely due to Reuben Valrie performing “vigorous” CPR on the child with two open palms instead of three fingers. Medical experts testifying for the prosection said that it was very rare for an infant’s ribs to fracture due to improper CPR and that when they do, they are fractured on the sides, not the front, as Aliyana Valrie’s were. The same medical experts ruled out any pre-existing conditions that could have caused Aliyana Valrie’s brain bleeding, the DA’s office said.
Reuben Valrie will be sentenced on Nov. 17.