A JURY STRUGGLES TO DECIDE WHETHER A WOMAN IS
CRIMINALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATH OF HER DAUGHTER
"In the Jury Room" Airs Tuesday, August 17, on ABC
Twenty-year-old Laura Trujillo of Denver, Colorado, is facing 48 years in prison in the beating death of her daughter, Alize. The coroner called it one of the worst cases he had ever seen. Trujillo, who is confined to a wheelchair, says that she took pain killers and fell asleep the night Alize was killed, and the next morning found her daughter on the floor not breathing. Her boyfriend, Randy Ramirez, has confessed to beating Alize the night she died. "In the Jury Room," an ABC News documentary series narrated by Senior Legal Correspondent Cynthia McFadden, chronicles this chilling case and goes behind the closed doors of the jury room as jurors debate whether Trujillo is criminally responsible as well. "In The Jury Room" airs TUESDAY, AUGUST 17 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.
Prosecutor Helen Morgan charged Trujillo with child abuse resulting in death. The state alleges that, even if Trujillo did not herself strike Alize, she would still be criminally responsible for keeping the baby in an abusive environment in the months before she was killed. Morgan alleges that Trujillo knew her boyfriend was beating Alize and did nothing. Trujillo says that she did not harm her child and had no idea that her boyfriend was capable of killing Alize. She says that it was Ramirez alone who killed Alize. Defense attorney Scott Reich will argue that Trujillo was so in love with Ramirez that she was unwilling to admit that he was abusing her child.
During each hour of "In the Jury Room," ABC News cameras are there as prosecutors build and try a homicide case in court. Public defenders and defense attorneys also allowed ABC News to go inside the confidential lawyer-client relationship as they work to establish their defense. Judges permitted cameras to capture the action not only in their courtrooms, but also in chambers. And cameras were allowed to observe juries evaluating the evidence and trying to come to a consensus in what often proves to be a contentious process.
ABC News producers were granted total access to these six homicide cases through special orders from the Arizona, Colorado and Ohio supreme courts, which cited the educational value of providing viewers with this unique, "fly-on-the-wall" view of the legal system at work. In each case, every juror-as well as the defense, the prosecution and the judge-consented to the placement of the cameras in the jury room.
Michael Bicks is the executive producer of "In the Jury Room." Rudy Bednar is the senior executive producer. George Kachadorian, Susan Kriskey and Laura Viddy are the producers.