HENRY COUNTY, Ga. (FOX 5 Atlanta) - A Henry County jury has found Jennifer and Joseph Rosenbuam guilty in the November 2015 death of 2-year-old foster child Laila Daniel.
All 49 counts were read out in court Thursday afternoon. Jurors found them guilty on most of the charges in the 49-count indictment. Both were found guilty on one count each of second-degree murder. Jennifer Rosenbaum was also found guilty of one count of felony murder.
The Rosenbaums appeared to sob as the guilty verdicts were read.
During the three-week trial, prosecutors argued Laila died from injuries she suffered at the hands of the Rosenbaums. But the defense rebutted, arguing her death was an accident.
The judge wasted no time getting into the sentencing phase of the trial. Prosecutors recommended life in prison without parole for Jennifer and 70 years with 50 to serve for Joseph. The prosecutor argued the toddler’s age, the evidence of prior abuse, and a pattern of abuse should be weighed into the sentencing.
The defense argued that Joseph suffers from cystic fibrosis, significantly decreasing his life expectancy. They asked for leniency of 5 years since there was no evidence he knew of the abuse.
The prosecution countered that Joseph should have known about the abuse given the extent of the injuries and did nothing.
Giving his witness statement, Joseph’s father begged the judge for a minimum sentence and to have son put on suicide watch.
Jennifer’s lawyer argued she was a law student with no priors, but prosecutors argued the severity of the toddler’s injuries needed to be heavily considered in sentencing.
During her impact statement, Laila’s mother said she blamed herself for her daughters ending up in foster care.
In the end, the judge gave Jennifer life in prison plus 40 years. Joseph received a 50-year sentence to serve 30, with the remainder to be spent on probation.
This all started November 17, 2015, at the couple’s Lincoln Terrace home. Jennifer called 911 to report 2-year-old foster child Laila was choking on her chicken nuggets. CPR was started and the toddler was rushed to Piedmont Henry Hospital but was pronounced dead.
The medical staff noticed bruising on the child’s neck which Mrs. Rosenbaum claimed was from her failed attempts to revive the child. An autopsy revealed extensive internal and external bruising from head to toe, broken bones, and lacerations on the young child’s body.
During the three-week-long trial, doctor’s testified there was no evidence to suggest the child had been choking and the real cause of death of was a blunt force trauma to the abdomen.
Investigators also revealed both physical evidence and a statement from Laila’s then 4-year-old older sister, Millie Place, revealed repeated physical abuse during the children’s 4-month stay with the Rosenbaums.
The jury began deliberations Monday to determine a total of 49 counts, some individually, some together, which included murder, aggravated assault, aggravated battery and cruelty to children. The jury was delayed a day when Judge Brian Amero removed a juror from the case who had contact with a reporter.
On Tuesday, the juror told the judge a reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution had made a casual comment to him in a hallway. After questioning the juror and the reporter, Amero denied the first mistrial motion Tuesday. Even though the juror told the judge the contact would not affect his ability to judge the case fairly, the judge replaced the juror with an alternate on Wednesday and ordered the jury to start over with deliberations.
They eventually came back with the verdict Thursday afternoon.