Two Lake Havasu City parents accused in the death of their 2-year-old daughter will be tried separately after an Tuesday court appearance.
Andrew J. Lamorie, 23, and Brittany Rodriquez, 26, were scheduled to stand trial together on charges of first-degree murder and felony child abuse. Lamorie’s attorney filed a motion last month to give each defendant separate trials, saying in his motion their defenses would be “mutually antagonistic,” and Rodriquez had given statements to police allegedly incriminating Lamorie when questioned by detectives last year. Mohave County Attorney Jacob Cote did not oppose the motion at a hearing on the matter this Tuesday.
Tuesday’s hearing also offered Mohave County Public Defender Robin Puchek an opportunity to view evidence and testimony submitted by Clark County forensic pathologist Jennifer Corneal, who wrote the the victim’s autopsy report. According to Corneal, the alleged homicide was caused by blunt force head and neck trauma, with severe malnutrition named as a significant factor in the death of Lamorie’s daughter.
Lamorie was arrested last January after his youngest daughter was reported motionless on the floor of his home’s living room closet. According to statements by Lamorie, he’d put his child in the closet as a “time out” for bad behavior. When paramedics responded to the scene, however, they allegedly observed physical injury to the girl’s body. She was transported to Havasu Regional Medical Center, and later flown to another hospital for emergency medical treatment. The victim died three days later.
Police say the victim, identified as Gabriella Lamorie, suffered multiple brain contusions, brain bleeding, bruises to her face and head, and apparent trauma to her abdomen. The child appeared to be half the size of an average 2-year-old, medical officials allegedly told police, and she would never have lived a normal life even if she survived her injuries.
Lamorie allegedly told detectives that his daughter may have been climbing on a small desk in the closet, and may have fallen. He allegedly denied personally injuring his daughter, and Rodriquez allegedly supported his statement at first.
Rodriquez was arrested after the death of her daughter, and further questioned by detectives. She allegedly told police she witnessed Lamorie strike their child’s head with his open hand on at least one occasion. According to the police report, she said she should have done more to protect her daughter from Lamorie. Rodriquez also allegedly described years of physical abuse committed against her by Lamorie.
Lamorie additionally faces charges of possession of drug paraphernalia, aggravated assault against a minor, possession of marijuana and cruelty to animals.
Lamorie and Rodriquez were originally scheduled to stand trial Nov. 5, and now prosecutors will work with the Mohave County Public Defender’s Office to determine which of the defendants will be tried first. That decision will be made by Mohave Superior Judge Billy Sipe at a scheduled Oct. 15 management conference.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Lamorie’s trial was still scheduled to begin Nov. 5.