DECATUR — A coroner's jury ruled Tuesday that the death of 4-year-old Amarrah Reynolds was the result of a homicide.
Decatur police Det. Troy Phares testified that Amarrah, who was pronounced dead Aug. 31 in a hospital emergency room, “had been physically abused for some time.
“She had scars, welts, marks on her legs, some new, some fresh, some were healing,” Phares said at the inquest Tuesday morning, held in the office of Macon County Coroner Michael E. Day. “There was scarring to the inside of both legs. It was determined that was a form of punishment both parents used for wetting her bed or begging for things too much.”
The parents, Darrell A. Reynolds Jr., 29, and Dalvon Taylor, 26, are being held in jail, awaiting trial in connection with charges related to the child's death. Reynolds is charged with two counts of first-degree murder; Taylor is charged with one count of endangering the life or health of a child.
Phares testified that an 8-year-old boy told police he witnessed “both parents taking turns beating the young girl with a belt shortly before” her death.
At some time after that beating, the girl was taken upstairs in the residence on the 1500 block of North Monroe Street.
“She was supposedly put in what they called a time out, which is where she stood in a corner and held a large book over her head,” Phares said.
At that time, the mother was in another room, tending to her other two children, she told police during her interview. Amarrah was alone with her father.
When Taylor entered the room where her daughter and Reynolds were, she saw Amarrah's “eyes rolling back into her head.” Then she retrieved a phone to call 911. When Amarrah was examined in the emergency room, she was unresponsive.
Day said the preliminary autopsy showed Amarrah had subdural hemorrhages on her brain and multiple contusions consistent with blunt force head trauma, as well as extensive injuries on her body consistent with non-accidental inflicted trauma.
The girl's paternal grandfather, the landlord of the Reynolds residence, testified that the family was moving out the day of the child's death as a result of an eviction. The residence had no electricity due to non-payment of the power bill.
The eviction was a result of the mother's brother living in the basement against expressed rules. He smoked marijuana blunts in the basement, kept a pitbull and had trash all over the basement, the grandfather testified.