Mississippi woman convicted of killing 14-month-old stepdaughter granted new trial

Published 12:48 pm Wednesday, September 8, 2021

A Mississippi woman convicted of killing her 14-month-old stepdaughter has been granted a new trial after it was disclosed that a juror was related to the victim in the case.

Earlier this year, a Claiborne County jury convicted T’Kia Bevily  of murdering her stepdaughter, 14-month-old Jurayah Smith. Bevily was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

On Tuesday, Sept. 7, Claiborne County Circuit Judge Tomika Irving granted Bevily a new trial after the court learned that one juror was likely related to Smith.

In the order filed in circuit court Tuesday,  Irving said, “Evidence is overwhelming that Juror No. 24 withheld material information during voir dire which would have resulted in him being challenged by the defendant.”

Court records say that Juror No. 24 was the victim’s great uncle even though he did not reveal that fact during jury questioning.

The cause of Jurayah’s death was multiple blunt force trauma to the head. Investigators had ruled the death a homicide and charged Bevily and Jurayah’s father, Morris Bevily, in the case.

Morris Bevily is awaiting trial for capital murder in the case.