Trial begins in 2009 death of child

Relates to:
Date: 2010-08-18

By Julie Arrington
Staff Writer
juliearrington@forsythnews.com

A toddler died last year because the man responsible for watching him was having a bad day, a Foryth County prosecutor told a jury Wednesday.

Christopher Brian Gilreath, 40, is on trial in connection with the February 2009 beating death of the 2-year-old adopted son of his former girlfriend, Miriam Pinckney.

Both Gilreath and Pinckney were indicted in November on one count of murder, two counts of felony murder and one count of aggravated battery.

Each suspect also was indicted on two counts of first-degree cruelty to children and one count of possession of cocaine.

According to court records, Pinckney pleaded guilty earlier this month to a cruelty to children charge. She was sentenced to serve five years in prison and 15 years probation.

Gilreath’s attorneys, John Rife and Kelly Turner, opted to hold their opening statements until the prosecution has rested its case.

In her opening remarks Wednesday, Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Scalia described how Gilreath was watching Joshua Pinckney and his younger adopted sister on Feb.12, 2009.

They were at their home on Catalina Drive, just northeast of Cumming near Lake Lanier, while the children’s mother was at work.

Scalia contended that the little boy “died of no good reason other than this man was having a bad day.”

She said Gilreath was unemployed, had been forced to give up his pit bull and was sitting at the house that day smoking crack.

“He was sick and tired because he went to bed an electrician and woke up a nanny,” she said.

Scalia said Miriam Pinckney is now serving time in prison because she neglected to get the child medical attention after coming home that day.

According to Scalia, Gilreath told Pinckney the boy had fallen earlier in the day and had a bruise on his temple but didn’t need to see a doctor.

Scalia said when the mother checked on her son, he was in a deep sleep and not moving. The next morning, she found him dead in his bed.

Witnesses testified Wednesday that Pinckney called 911 after she found her son. She began CPR before emergency responders arrived.

Forsyth County Fire Lt. Mark Jordan testified that Pinckney was visibly upset when he arrived and that the boy was lying on the floor in a diaper.
Jordan said there were indications that the child had “been dead for a while.”

On a photograph Chief Assistant District Attorney Sandy Partridge showed to the jury, Jordan pointed out bruises on the boy’s torso and legs. He also said Joshua Pinckney’s right wrist was stiff and his toes were pointed.

Jordan said the child’s arms and legs were cold but his abdomen was unusually warm. Responders attempted to resuscitate him to no avail.

Though his bond was set at $350,000 in May 2009, Gilreath has remained in custody since his February 2009 arrest.

The trial is expected to continue into next week

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