Mississippi woman previously convicted of killing stepdaughter now out on $1 million bond awaiting new trial

Published 5:43 am Thursday, October 7, 2021

A Mississippi woman who was previously convicted of killing her 14-month-old stepdaughter is out on a $1 million bond as she awaits a new trial.

T’kia Bevily was recently granted a new trial after one of the jurors in a January trial failed to disclose that he is related to the child’s mother.

In late January, a Claiborne County jury convicted T’Kia Bevily of capital murder in the October 2017 death of Jurayah Smith. Investigators said the toddler died from blunt-force injuries to her head while in custody of her father and stepmother.

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Bevily was sentenced in early February to life in prison without parole, after the district attorney decided not to seek the death penalty.

Claiborne County Circuit Judge Tomika Irving filed an order to grant Bevily a new trial. Court records show that during jury selection, a man failed to disclose that he is the uncle of the dead toddler’s aunt. He was selected as a juror.
“Giving Juror No. 24 the benefit of doubt, if he did not know that the deceased child was his niece’s niece prior to her death, he more than likely learned of such relationship after the child’s death by way of living in a small community,” Irving wrote.

Jurayah Smith’s father, Morris Bevily, is awaiting trial on a capital murder charge.

Bevily’s trial date has been scheduled for May 2, 2022. The term of the bond has placed Bevily under house arrest restricting her from leaving Warren County and she’s not allowed to leave her home from the hours of 6 pm to 6 am except for verified employment.