Trial to begin in beating death of 3-year-old - East Valley Tribune: News

Trial to begin in beating death of 3-year-old

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Posted: Tuesday, July 22, 2008 9:43 pm | Updated: 8:54 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

In the early hours after her death, little Angelene Plummer, known to her family as Angel, looked like she had been run over by a truck.

The 3-year-old Mesa girl was covered in bruises on her face, neck, back and legs - even between her toes. Dried blood collected around her nose, and there were bite marks, cuts and burns on the girl's nearly naked body when she was discovered in a small trailer behind her house in 2005.

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Now, prosecutors hope those details, along with photographs of the girl's battered body, will help convince a jury that 33-year-old Christopher Langen beat the toddler to death and should himself be executed for the crime if convicted.

Langen's trial on charges of murder and child abuse is scheduled to begin Wednesday with juror selections in Maricopa County Superior Court in Mesa.

Prosecutors will try to show that Langen killed Angel on Feb. 8, 2005, inside his camping trailer, set up behind the girl's home, while babysitting for her father.

According to court records, Langen told police after his arrest he was the only person with the girl during the last 20 hours of her life, but he did not remember beating her.

At most, Langen said he pushed Angel to the ground after she became tangled up in his video game cords, the records state.

He said the girl was still breathing when he put her to bed, but when he woke up in the morning, she was dead and severely bruised, the records state.

Police believe Langen may have been drinking heavily that night.

In court paperwork, prosecutors Suzanne Cohen and Patricia Stevens said they plan to use the graphic photographs of Angel after her death to show how violent the killing was.

They also stated they are seeking the death penalty.

A spokesman with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, which is prosecuting the case, declined to comment because the trial is pending.

Langen's attorney could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Prosecutors already won a case against Angel's father, Michael Plummer, 30, for abusing his daughter and leaving her with Langen in the first place.

A jury determined Angel's father knew Langen lived in squalid conditions, including having containers of urine scattered about the trailer, when he left her in his friend's care.

Plummer was found guilty of child abuse last year and sentenced to 18 years in prison.

But court paperwork shows the father may also testify against his former friend in the murder trial.

In a filing earlier this month, Plummer's lawyer, Theresa Armendarez, said prosecutors offered the father "immunity" from further charges in the case if he agrees to testify.

A judge has since ordered Plummer to be moved from a state prison to a county jail in anticipation of the trial.

It was unclear on Tuesday how long the trial is expected to last and when Plummer might testify.

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