Family Crimes

'You Should Die In A Locked Closet,' Judge Tells Texas Man Convicted Of Brutally Beating 4-Year-Old To Death

“What he did was unfathomable, inhuman and savage,” a Texas judge said of Charles Wayne Phifer, who was convicted in the death of Leiliana Wright.

A Texas man has been sentenced to life in prison for torturing and killing the 4-year-old daughter of his girlfriend, and the judge who imposed the sentence said the man should “die in a locked closet.”

“What he did was unfathomable, inhuman and savage,” Texas Judge Robert Burns said Monday, after a jury convicted Charles Wayne Phifer of capital murder in the killing Leiliana Wright, the daughter of his girlfriend, Jeri Quezada, according to the Dallas Morning News.

"I think this is the worst case I've ever seen,” Judge Burns said.

Quezada has already admitted her role in Leiliana’s death, pleading guilty to felony injury to a child in 2017 as part of a plea bargain that jails her for up to 50 years, as previously reported by Oxygen.com. That deal required her to testify against her former boyfriend, and she did so with a vengeance last Wednesday.

"My daughter deserves justice," she testified. "I know where I went wrong. I'm not the only one who did it."

Quezada said she and Phifer beat Leiliana repeatedly in the days leading up to her death in 2016. The girl died after Phifer strung her up in a closet in the apartment they shared, hanging from rod, with her hands bound behind her back, while Phifer and Quezada got high on heroin.

Brad Makovy, a Grand Prairie, Texas child abuse detective who investigated the case and observed Leiliana’s battered body testified “It was the worst thing I’ve ever seen inflicted on a child,” reported NBC DFW 5, the local NBC affiliate in Dallas/Fort Worth.

"Photos shown in the courtroom revealed a broken and battered little girl’s body that was bruised from head to toe. The first responders said it was one of the worst cases of abuse they’ve ever seen,” the Dallas County District Attorney's Office said Monday, NBC DFW 5 reported.

Jurors deliberated for about four hours before delivering the guilty verdict, according to the Dallas Morning News. After that, in accordance with Texas practice, Judge Burns sentenced Phifer within hours to life in prison, without the possibility of parole.

“You and Jeri did monstrous things to that little girl,” Judge Burns told Phifer.  

“Life in prison seems insufficient. Hanging a little girl in a closet is savage. You should die in a locked closet.”

[Photo: Dallas County Jail]

Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxgen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.

All Posts About:
Family Crimes Breaking News

You May Also Like...

Recommended by Zergnet