SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Editor's Note: The above video is from an earlier broadcast.
Maricopa County's prosecutors intend to seek the death penalty if they successfully convict a grandmother of murdering her 11-year-old grandson earlier this year in Scottsdale.
Stephanie M. Davis, 52, and her husband Thomas J. Desharnais, 33, are facing several felony charges for allegedly killing one of Davis' grandsons.
Chaskah Davis died on Jan. 30 after paramedics found the child unconscious in a Scottsdale hotel room.
According to court records, Desharnais admitted to witnessing Davis strike her 11-year-old grandson over the head with a metal rachet and bending back his fingers with needle-nose pliers.
The husband further told police Davis would intentionally starve the boy for days.
The grandmother had been looking after her two grandsons since 2015, police said. The family had prior contact with police due to reports made about suspected abuse happening within the home.
The Maricopa County Attorney's Office announced Tuesday it wants Davis and Desharnais to be subjected to capital punishment if they're found guilty of first-degree murder.
“As a community, it is our responsibility to protect and care for the most vulnerable in society, and this includes children. The protection of children has always been a top priority for me. This child’s suffering and death must be addressed and those responsible held accountable,” said County Attorney Rachel Mitchell in a statement.
Capital cases are split into two phases: first prosecutors must prove the defendant is guilty of murder, then they must convince the court that the crime is worth putting the defendant to death.
MCAO cites the "heinous" and "cruel" nature of the crimes committed against the deceased victim as a reason to seek capital punishment.
“Seeking justice for this young boy whose life was cut short in an especially heinous matter is what prosecutors are called to do,” Mitchell added.
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