Jury finds local man guilty of murder

Friday, November 28, 2008

An Oklahoma jury has convicted a Seligman man of murdering a 15-month-old girl that was left in his care by the victim's mother.

Travis Steed, 31, was found guilty of murder in the first degree and now faces life in prison. This is the second time that Steed has been tried before a jury. At his first trial back in June, the judge declared a mistrial when jurors could not return a unanimous verdict in his case.

Catherine White, the victim's 30-year-old mot-her, testified that she left her daughter, McKenna White, in Steed's care on the night of Feb. 25, 2006. The couple were staying at the Townsman Motel in Miami, Okla. White said she left the motel to go pick up her other children who lived in Missouri.

When White returned to the hotel later that night, she said her daughter was sleeping in the crib. The next day, White checked on her daughter and found her lifeless.

A medical examiner ruled that McKenna died from a blunt force trauma to the head. The little girl also had bruises on her body, according to the autopsy report.

It took the jury five hours to return with a guilty verdict. Steed faces formal sentencing on Jan. 6, 2009. The jury recommended a sentence of life in prison.

White pleaded guilty to child neglect in connection with her daughter's death and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. A judge suspended all but 10 months of White's sentence and she has since been released from prison.

White admitted in court that she and Steed had both used methamphetamine before she left her daughter with Steed to go pick up her other children in Goodman.

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