Boyfriend Guilty of Capital Murder in Fatal Beating of Girlfriend's Daughter, 4-Year-Old Leiliana Wright

Victim's mother's one-time boyfriend sentenced to life without parole

Charles Wayne Phifer will spend the rest of his life behind bars after being found guilty of capital murder Monday in the fatal beating of his former girlfriend's daughter, 4-year-old Leiliana Wright.

Wright spent her last day on Earth being beaten and bound in a closet at her Grand Prairie home in March 2016, according to the testimony of her mother, Jeri Quezada, who has already pleaded guilty and is serving 50 years in prison as part of her plea bargain for her role in her daughter's death.

"Quezada testified in Phifer’s trial that in the days and hours before Leiliana’s death she and Phifer both hit the child and that Phifer had bound Leiliana’s hands with electrical wire and strung her up by her wrists behind her back, and left her hanging from a rod in a closet," the Dallas County District Attorney's Office said Monday. "Photos shown in the courtroom revealed a broken and battered little girl’s body that was bruised from head to toe. The first responders said it was one of the worst cases of abuse they’ve ever seen."

The official report from the Dallas County Medical Examiner said Wright died as a result of blunt force trauma to the abdomen and head.

Grand Prairie police sergeant Brad Makovy, a child abuse detective who investigated the case, echoed a similar sentiment on the case when he was called to testify last week.

Makovy was present for the autopsy conducted on Wright and when asked to describe the body he said, "It was the worst thing I've ever seen inflicted on a child."

Both Quezada and Phifer admitted to being heroin addicts and shooting up prior to the Leiliana’s death.

“This is not a story about drugs. This is a story about a little girl who didn’t deserve this. She was an innocent victim,” said Assistant District Attorney Eren Price in a prepared statement Monday.

With the capital murder conviction, Phifer, 36, will not be eligible for parole.

Testimony will continue Friday in a deadly child abuse case that exposed the failings of the Texas child protective services system.
Testimony continued Thursday in a deadly child abuse case that exposed the failings of the Texas child protective services system.
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