Monday , February 12, 2018 - 10:40 AM
Brenda Emile and her attorney Jason Widdison listen as her second attorney Martin Gravis addresses Judge Michael DiReda during a preliminary hearing Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, in the 2nd District Court in Ogden. Emile and Miller Costello have been charged with aggravated murder in the death of their 3-year-old daughter.
OGDEN — An Ogden couple accused of killing their 3-year-old appeared in court for the second time in a week so prosecutors could review evidence regarding their case.
Miller Costello, 25, and Brenda Emile, 23, sat in court while police and forensic experts answered questions about evidence collected in the case. Costello and Emile are accused of killing their child, Angelina Costello.
The prosecution first called Michael Belenky, a forensic pathologist who conducted the child’s autopsy for the state Medical Examiner’s Office, to testify regarding what he found during the autopsy. Belenky outlined the many injuries the child suffered.
An autopsy photo shown to the court pictured the child’s brain, and Belenky pointed out three points of brain hemorrhaging. Other photos showed the child’s hygiene at the time of the autopsy, which Belenky called “deplorable.”
Deputy Weber County Attorney Christopher Shaw asked Belenky if a burn on the child’s chest could have been from a sparkler, which is what Emile told investigators caused the burn.
Belenky said the burn was too large to be a sparkler burn, and a sparkler would leave more of a dot. Belenky said the burn — which was healing at the time of Angelina’s death — was 3 centimeters by 7 centimeters. The burn was also covered in makeup when the body arrived at the medical examiner’s office, Belenky said.
Belenky testified that injuries the child sustained on her back were consistent with healing burns from cigarettes. Cigarette burns were found on the child’s face, lower back and fingers, Belenky said.
During the autopsy, he said he found no signs of clostridium difficile colitis, a colon infection that Emile told investigators the child suffered from.
He wasn’t entirely sure when the child died, but he did have a finding for the child’s manner of death.
“I believe the manner of death is homicide,” Belenky said.
After a short recess, the court resumed with more testimony from law enforcement officers.
Detective Colette Allred, who works in the Ogden Police Department’s Special Victims Unit, was at the scene of the crime the day Angelina’s body was found. Allred told the court that seeing the child’s body “brought back memories of Holocaust victims.”
Ogden Police Sgt. Justin Gorman described cellphone data that placed the defendants moving throughout the country in the year leading up Angelina’s death.
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With all the evidence presented, the next court hearing will consist of oral arguments on whether the case should go forward. The issue of bail will also be decided. Judge Michael DiReda tentatively set the next court hearing for Monday, May 14, in Ogden’s 2nd District Court.
During the Friday preliminary hearing, police officers and investigators took the stand and described the crime scene and the state of the child’s body. Prosecutors also played videos and showed pictures found on the defendant’s phones.
Buffy Emile, Brenda Emile’s mother, was also arrested Friday following an outburst in court. During Shaw’s opening statements, Buffy Emile opened the courtroom door and said to Costello, “You killed my baby, motherf-----.”
DiReda immediately instructed bailiffs to arrest her for contempt of court, which they did.
Lt. Joshua Marigoni said in an email Monday that Buffy Emile was held at Weber County Jail over the weekend and was released from custody Monday morning.
Costello and Brenda Emile are being held at Weber County Jail.