A mother who claimed her 7-year-old daughter was abducted from a flea market and pleaded tearfully on television for the girl’s safe return was convicted of murder Tuesday in her beating death.
Pauline Zile, 24, lowered her head and fought back tears as the guilty verdicts on charges of murder and child abuse were read.
She faces either the death penalty or life in prison without parole. Prosecutors said they will seek the death penalty. No immediate date was set for the jury to return to consider the sentence.
Zile was accused of abusing Christina Holt and causing her Sept. 16 death by not protecting the girl from her stepfather, John Zile. The couple kept the girl’s body in a closet for several days before Zile buried it.
In October, a sobbing Zile went on TV with her husband with a concocted story about how the girl was kidnapped from a flea market bathroom. Later that month, Zile led investigators to the child’s grave.
Zile, 32, is awaiting trial and could also face the death penalty. He told police that the girl was beaten after repeatedly soiling herself but that her death was an accident.
The defense called no witnesses.