It's been one year since two-year old Trekeya Cameron died from injuries consistent with shaken baby syndrome. The toddler's grandmother, Julia Cameron, of Tyler pled guilty to the crime in a Smith County court Monday morning.
Julia Cameron had temporary custody of Trekeya when she showed up at an emergency room with severe brain hemorrhaging and retinal bleeding last year. Both conditions indicate a child is a likely victim of shaken baby syndrome, according to Assistant District Attorney Brett Harrison.
Harrison and Assistant District Attorney Matt Bingham planned on showing photographs of the toddler's injuries to a jury panel this week. Their plans changed when Cameron's plea sent their case immediately into punishment phase. Cameron now faces 5 to 99 years in prison for the murder of her granddaughter.
Channel 7 news viewed autopsy photos Monday, which show lacerations and bruises all over the little girl's body. It appears some of the scars left on the child's legs came from a belt. Harrison says in sworn testimony, Cameron admits to using a belt on her granddaughter.
Despite Cameron's guilty plea and the graphic photos, some of her family members believe she's innocent. Early on, a few Cameron supporters claimed the baby fell down a cement stairwell.
"My sister didn't do this," one family member said outside court Monday. "They had to get somebody, and she was the one. She knew (about it), she's guilty of that, and that's all."
Harrison responded to the family's accusations by saying autopsy and forensic reports point to shaken baby syndrome, and in sworn testimony, Cameron admits she was the only one at home when the injuries occurred.