Special outside prosecutor to be assigned in death of murdered Henry County toddler

Henry County’s incoming District Attorney has appointed an outside special prosecutor to the murder case of 2-year-old Laila Daniel.

Daniel died in November of 2015. Prosecutors charged her foster parents with murder, but the new district attorney believes his office may have a conflict of interest because the mother was an intern with the juvenile court division in the DA’s office. It was during that time she heard about Laila and began the process of becoming her foster parent

According to documents obtained from the Division of Family and Children, a preliminary autopsy showed Laila never choked and almost a year after her death, a grand jury indicted Laila's foster parents Jennifer and Joseph Rosenbaum with murder. But now that case is temporarily halted until the Attorney General's office appoints an outside prosecutor.

“I feel like it’s going to delay the process even more,” said Kim Smith, a relative of Laila.

Smith said while she’s concerned about time, she does trust Henry County’s new District Attorney to get justice for Laila.

Friday afternoon, District Attorney Darius Pattillo called a news conference to announce he was recusing his office from the case.

"I believe this is right thing to do,” Pattillo said.

Pattillo said after reviewing the case he realized there’s a conflict of interest he can’t ignore.

Jennifer Rossenbaum, a third year law student, interned with the DA’s office

“While working for our juvenile court division she attended a DFACS hearing where she first encountered Laila and her older sister. It was around that time she expressed interest in becoming her foster parent,” said Pattillo.

An assistant district attorney wrote an email to DFACS on Rosenbaum's behalf and Rosenbaum got custody of the children while working at the DA’s office. And more than likely the staff here could be called to testify

“Let me be absolutely clear by this action the DA’s office is not dismissing, reducing, or making any judgement about the charges or evidence in the case,” said Pattillo.

Laila’s family just wants to get the ball rolling in the case.

“A new prosecutor has to review everything. It’s been really hard the waiting. But we also know we want all the information to be accurate and correct,” said Patillo.

There is no timeframe right now on when a prosecutor could be appointed or when the case could go to trial, which is expected to remain in tried in the county.

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