Capital murder charges against a Watauga, Texas, father accused of smothering his 2-year-old daughter were dropped after the man’s young son reportedly admitted to causing the toddler’s death.
Investigators believed Anthony Michael Sanders, 33, suffocated Ellie Mae Sanders on December 12, 2015, because she had interrupted his computer games. However, a capital murder trial set for September 11 never occurred and, by September 13, charges were dropped, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Though the Tarrant County district attorney’s office wouldn’t comment on the dismissal, court documents recently obtained by the paper indicated that the case fell apart in late August, after the 7-year-old boy’s mother told prosecutors that her son admitted to killing his little sister.
“Cassie Wright said that this was the first time [her son] had told her anything like this,” a notice filed by prosecutors read. “She does not believe [her son] and does not think that what he is telling her makes sense.”
The child, who was 5 at the time, reportedly claimed he hit Ellie with a pillow while playing and it was too heavy to get off of her.
He cried as recalled the pillow being so heavy because something was zipped inside of it. The child said that Anthony later unzipped the pillow and removed the heavy item.
The 7-year-old claimed he told his mother about what happened a year or two earlier but didn’t tell anyone else because he was afraid of getting in trouble, the paper also wrote.
Jailed since April 2016, Anthony maintained that he discovered Ellie after his son said that she was asleep and wouldn’t wake up. He screamed for his wife to call 911 and police arrived to find him performing CPR on his daughter.
Doctors reportedly told police that the girl had bruises all over her body and around her eyes, blood behind her ear, and two bite marks on her back that were possibly from an adult. Despite this, Tim Moore, Sanders’ defense attorney, told the Star-Telegram that his client won’t face charges for the injuries Ellie had when she died.
Dr. Marc Krouse with the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office told prosecutors in September that he couldn’t disprove that the boy smothered his sister with a pillow.
“It’s possible that there is enough of a difference in the strength of a 5-year-old to overpower a 2-year-old,” Dr. Krouse stated, according to prosecutors.
[Featured Image: Watauga Police Department]