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Tragedy In Napa - 3 Year Old Kayleigh Slusher Beaten To Death By Mother & Boyfriend

Kayleigh Slusher (Facebook)
 Look at this angelic little girl, 3 year old Kayleigh Slusher. Police in Napa California are reporting that Kayleigh's 23 year old mother and her boyfriend confessed to killing the toddler.  According to reports, Sara Krueger and her 26 year old boyfriend Ryan Scott Warner beat the child to death, crammed her body into a suitcase and stuffed it in a freezer last Thursday - one day after Napa police went to the home to do a welfare check on Kayleigh.

Both Krueger and Warner were charged with first degree murder and assault on a child resulting in death. According to published reports, Kayleigh's body was discovered on Saturday - she had been sexually abused and beaten to death.  Neither Krueger or Warner has been charged with sexual abuse yet. Napa police were tipped off to the suspected abuse of Kayleigh by an anonymous caller who feared the little girl was being mistreated and not being fed. There was also a concern that drugs were being sold or consumed at the home and strangers were frequently seen staying at the second floor apartment.

Police had been there twice in the week before her body was found, and FOURTEEN times since 2012, according to KPIX-TV, yet Child Protective Services had never been called!  Kayleigh's grandfather John Krueger has spoken out publicly about how his daughter Sara's life changed for the worse after Warner came into the picture. He told a local reporter that Sara loved Kayleigh more than anything in the world. Neighbors reported that things at the apartment changed immediately after Warner moved in. Ryan Warner's Facebook page reportedly listed his occupation as "Trappin", which apparently suggests he was dealing meth. Police and neighbors believe this would account for all of the foot traffic in and out of the apartment.  Sara Krueger had received a letter from the apartment's management just weeks ago that warned she was in danger of losing her housing because of the frequent foot traffic. 

Neighbors also reported that once Warner moved in with Krueger, they were rarely seen outside and little Kayleigh was seen less frequently outside. The drapes were always drawn, and neighbors became more and more concerned about the safety and well being of 3 year old Kayleigh. It appears their fears were well founded. They appeared to have done everything right - they contacted the police numerous times about the suspicious activity at the apartment. They got involved - so how did this happen? How can the police go to the same apartment 14 times in less than 2 years time and not contact Child Protective Services since a young child was living there? Even if the police didn't find drugs during their visit, they had reason to suspect illegal activity was occurring there. Wasn't that enough to open a case with CPS?

How did Sara Krueger get to a point where she becomes a co-defendant instead of a mother - facing charges of murdering her precious little girl? Did drugs take over, or did Warner? What happened to get to this point? There are so many unanswered questions, but it would seem a mother would protect her child and definitely would not go on the run with the man who beat her to death.  Police believe Kayleigh was beaten to death on or around January 31, 2014.  Her body was put into a suitcase and then a freezer for 2 days! Police were at the apartment on January 29, just two days before Kayleigh was believed to be killed. This story is unsettling.  Sara's father says that she was a devoted and loving mother who loved her daughter with all of her heart.  Could Ryan Warner really have had that much of an effect on her motherly instinct to protect her daughter? Or did Sara simply choose a life of drugs with Ryan over the life of a single mother with Kayleigh? I'll never understand the choices people make.

Sara Krueger and Ryan Warner went on the run - neighbors reported seeing them leaving their apartment carrying suitcases on Saturday. They were eventually spotted in a (BART) commuter train station in El Cerrito and detained by police. According to investigators, Sara Krueger and Scott Warner had been living together for around a year before the murder and they had been in trouble with the law before.  Kayleigh's biological father is reportedly an inmate at San Quentin State Prison.  Did this beautiful little girl stand a chance?  The Napa community is outraged and deeply saddened by the fate of this little girl.

Sara Krueger & Scott Warner
Krueger and Warner are both being held without bail pending their formal arraignment. They are scheduled to go to court on February 25, 2014. Just look at the photos of this gorgeous little girl, killed at the hands of the adults who were supposed to be loving and protecting her.  What a very sad story.
Kayleigh Slusher - Facebook

Sara and Kayleigh

Jodi Arias Still Facing Death Penalty - Judge Stephens Rules on Motion

Judge Sherry Stephens handed down a ruling on a motion filed by Jodi Arias attorneys Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott regarding her eligibility for the death penalty at her sentencing retrial. In a minute entry dated February 5, 2014, Judge Stephens ruling stated:

...the fact that the first jury was unable to unanimously agree on the sentence to be imposed is inapposite to the Eight Amendment's narrowing requirement.  The class of first degree murderers eligible for the death penalty is not broadened by a jury's inability to determine the appropriate sentence at the penalty phase.  Defendant has not been "acquitted" of the death sentence by the jury's failure to reach a verdict, and thus there is no constitutional bar to retrying the penalty phase.  See Medina 232 Ariz at 17-28 (holding ARS 13-752K's) provision for retrial after a hung jury phase does not result in cruel or unusual punishment or violate the Double Jeopardy clause. 

IT IS ORDERED denying the defendants Motion to Dismiss Death: Cruel and Unusual Punishment filed January 17, 2014.

In Arias' Motion, she had argued that it was unconstitutional to allow a second jury to sentence her to death - citing it was cruel and unusual punishment and amounted to double jeopardy.  Want to know what we think was cruel and unusual punishment? Stabbing your ex boyfriend in excess of 25 times before slitting his throat and shooting him in the face. THAT was cruel and unusual punishment.  Judge Stephens also wrote in her ruling "Defendant misconstrues the Eight Amendment's narrowing requirement....the Eight Amendment requires that aggravating factors in capital cases must "genuinely narrow the classes of persons eligible for the death penalty and must reasonable justify the imposition of a more severe sentence on the defendant compared to others found guilty of murder".

There was also another minute entry dated February 4, 2014 that refers to an exhibit.  The entry says "Court has been advised by the Exhibits Department that exhibit #243 which is in a sealed plastic bag containing a handbag was not inventoried of the items contained inside".  The ruling was to unseal and inventory the contents of exhibit #243 and update the exhibit worksheet.  Wonder what's in the handbag?  Wouldn't it be something if there was a handgun in there? It appears by the Superior Court minute entries that arguments have been ongoing, motions have been ruled on and this re trial has been chugging along - albeit out of the eye of the media and the public. As for the Estrella Jail's most infamous inmate, has she really gone "radio-silent" as promised in a recent tweet? So far she's kept to her word, we'll see how long she can remain silent!

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