Oscar winning actor Billy Bob Thornton's daughter Amanda Brumfield, 32, was found guilty of manslaughter of a 1 year old baby, the daughter of her best friend.
The murder case was being tried in the same Orlando courthouse where the much hyped Casey Anthony first degree murder case was unfolding. The baby, Olivia Madison Garcia, who died in October 2008 while she was in the care of her mother's best friend, was also the goddaughter of Brumfield.
Brumfield had pleaded not guilty in the case, in which she was accused of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter. Olivia died after she sustained serious injuries from falling out of a playpen which caused a 3-inch fracture on the girl's skull and bleeding and swelling on her brain. Brumfield claimed that the baby had accidentally fallen a short distance out of the playpen. The prosecutors deemed her argument implausible saying that a playpen fall of that nature wouldn't have caused the deep injuries that lead to the child's death.
Brumfield's public defender, David Barszcz, based his arguments on the close relationship Brumfield shared with Olivia's mother, Heather Murphy. Murphy had keys to Brumfield's home and the latter used to keep diapers and playpen at her place which denoted frequent visits of her best friend and child, the defender claimed. The bottom line is they were very, very close, Barszcz told the court.
The defense argued that Olivia was trying to climb out of the playpen that lead to her fall which caused second-impact syndrome, meaning the impact aggravated an existing injury. What exactly happened that lead to the child's death is still unknown, though Brumfield was reported to have behaved strange after the death. She didn't call police for help for two hours after the incident and in the meanwhile painted the child's toenails, fed her with bananas and lay on the floor with the dead child.
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Jury found merits in prosecution and defense cases and acquitted Brumfield of first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse but convicted her of manslaughter.
Since the arrest of Brumfield, her relationship with celebrity father Bob Thornton was much talked about including her early estrangement from him. Thornton and his first wife Melissa Gatlin split in 1980, which didn't go down well with their daughter Brumfield. Brumfield had accused Thornton in 2001 for not being around for her when she needed him and had said, I have nothing against him. I love him. He's my father. I just want him to be around. I don't want to cry, but it's not fair to watch him on TV every day, and I can't even get a call.
Thornton, who is married five times, had admitted his guilt in the past about Brumfield, She didn't grow up with me, and so we were pretty much strangers for years, Thornton reportedly said in 2005.
Anytime a baby's life is lost is an unimaginable tragedy, and my heart goes out to the baby's family and loved ones, was Thornton's reaction to the indictment of his daughter.
Thornton is known for his idiosyncratic behavior including his eccentric displays of affection when he was married to Angelina Jolie. The couple had hit the news for wearing vials of each other's blood around their necks which, Thornton later clarified, were small lockets each containing a single drop of blood.
Thornton also has obsessive compulsive disorder characterized by phobia for French antique furniture and fear for certain type of silverware, traits he infused into his movie characters as a screenwriter.