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Jury seated in Ohio in aggravated murder of woman accused of putting baby in microwave
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    DAYTON, Ohio — A woman accused of killing her month-old daughter by burning her in a microwave confessed to the crime, saying the baby ‘‘fit right in’’ the oven, a prosecutor said Thursday.
    ‘‘’I killed my baby.’ Those are the words of the defendant,’’ prosecutor Daniel Brandt said during opening statements in the death penalty trial of mother China Arnold.
    Brandt said Arnold told a fellow inmate, ‘‘’I wrapped her up. I put her in the microwave. I turned the microwave on, and I went outside. She fit right in.’’’
    Sitting at the defense table, the 27-year-old Arnold showed little emotion as her trial got under way in the August 2005 death of Paris Talley at their Dayton home.
    ‘‘The evidence is going to show that she did not purposely take the life of her own baby,’’ said defense attorney Jon Paul Rion.
    Rion said other people had access to the baby, Arnold was intoxicated to the point of blacking out when the child died, and people questioned about the case changed their stories. Rion also raised questions about the reliability of the science when it comes to determining the effect of microwaves on humans.
    Coroner’s officials have said the baby suffered high-heat internal injuries and had no external burns. They have ruled out scalding water, open flame or other possible causes of death that could have damaged the skin.
    During a pretrial hearing in July, Detective Michael Galbraith said Arnold told him she arrived home in the early morning hours after drinking, fell asleep and was awakened at 2:30 a.m. by the baby’s crying.
    She said she warmed a bottle in the microwave oven, tried to give it to the baby, changed the child’s diaper and fell asleep on the couch with the baby on her chest.
    Arnold said she and her children were the only ones in the apartment until her boyfriend arrived several hours later and noticed something was wrong with the baby.
    During the prosecutor’s opening statements, a photo of the burned baby was flashed on a screen for the 12-member jury to see. Brandt said Arnold killed the child after arguing with her boyfriend over whether they had been faithful to each other. Brandt said Arnold did not want her boyfriend to know whether he was the father of the baby because he had threatened leave her if he was not.
    When the couple brought the baby to the hospital, Brandt said, Arnold exclaimed: ‘‘’I killed my baby. I killed my baby.’’’
    Brandt said Arnold later told police it never would have happened had she not gotten so drunk. He said Arnold told one of her fellow inmates she had killed the baby in the microwave and other inmates that she had not meant to do it.
    Arnold has been in jail since she was charged in November 2006.
    Rion said Arnold, who had three sons, loved having a daughter and even quit college and her job so she could stay home and take care of her. Rion said Arnold’s boyfriend was the father of the child because it could not have been anyone else.

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