A Lake Havasu City couple is scheduled to stand trial Nov. 5 on charges of murder in the death of their 2-year-old daughter. As defenses are prepared in the case, attorneys are requesting their trials be held separately.
Mohave County Public Defender Jon Gillenwater has requested a severance in the joint-trial of 23-year-old Andrew Lamorie and 27-year-old Brittany Rodriquez, the mother of the victim. Gillenwater’s motion for separate trials was submitted Monday, stating that there could be no fair determination by the court if the defendants are tried together.
Gillenwater says the defense for Lamorie and Rodriquez will be mutually antagonistic, with testimony from Rodriquez expected to be used as evidence against Lamorie.
Lamorie was arrested last January on charges of aggravated assault and felony child abuse, after 2-year-old Gabriella Lamorie was flown to a Las Vegas hospital with life-threatening injuries. According to prosecutors, emergency first responders were called to Lamorie’s home Jan. 11, 2018, after receiving reports that Gabriella was found on the floor of a closet in their home, unconscious and barely breathing.
Further investigation allegedly found Gabriella to have suffered bleeding in her brain, multiple contusions, bruises on her face and head, and signs of intestinal trauma. She was pronounced deceased three days later, and Lamorie was charged with first-degree murder. According to the Clark County Coroner’s Office, the cause of Gabriella’s death was blunt-force head and neck trauma, with severe malnutrition cited as an underlying factor In her death. Investigators in 2018 said Gabriella appeared to have been half the size of a healthy child her age, and even if she survived, she would never have lived a normal life.
Brittany Rodriquez also was arrested on charges of first-degree murder after the death of her daughter. In alleged statements to police, Rodriquez detailed years of physical abuse toward herself and Gabriella by her codefendant. According to police, Rodriquez allegedly told detectives she “should have done more” to protect her daughter from Lamorie.
Lamorie’s attorneys intend to challenge the coroner’s findings on his daughter’s cause of death with expert witnesses, and are expected to argue that Lamorie lacked an intent to commit murder. They are also expected to argue that witnesses against Lamorie may have a bias in the accusation against him.
Lamorie also was charged with possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and animal cruelty, after an injured dog was found at his residence shortly after his arrest.
Attorneys for Rodriquez also will offer expert witnesses in her defense, and are expected to argue that Rodriquez displayed symptoms of battered women syndrome, as a means of explaining Rodriquez’s lack of action to protect the victim. Her defense will also offer expert testimony from a medical doctor to describe the cause of Gabriella Lamorie’s death.
According to the Mohave County Public Defender’s Office, precedent under the U.S. Supreme Court mandates separate trials for cases in which the testimony of one codefendant may be used against another.
As of Wednesday, Mohave Superior Court Judge Billy Sipe had yet to rule on the motion.