A Utah couple accused of torturing their 3-year-old daughter to death - abuse that allegedly included beating, starving and even taunting the emaciated girl with food and filming it - will face the death penalty if they are convicted.
The Weber County Attorney’s Office filed paperwork Tuesday to notify the court of its intent.
Miller Costello, 25, and Brenda Emile, 23, from Ogden, were both charged with aggravated murder of their daughter, Angelina Costello, in July of 2017, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Police were called to the couple's house after someone reported an unconscious child. They found Angelina dead and stiff, cold to the touch, and swaddled in a pink blanket. She had "bruising, contusions, lacerations, burns, open sores and abrasions all over her face, hands, legs, head and neck," police said. Her ribs were also showing and she was emaciated. She weighed just 13 pounds, police said.
“It’s the worst case of child abuse I’ve ever seen,” Ogden police officer Chris Bishop said at the time, according to the Tribune.
The girl also had a layer of makeup on her chest and face to cover burn marks, which Emile allegedly admitted to applying to hide the girl's injuries and make them look better.
“I was told she was 3,” Ogden police officer Sitka Hrabal said at a hearing in February. “She didn’t look 3 to me. She looked like a Holocaust victim.”
Angelina died from a mix of blunt force trauma, burns, starvation and malnutrition, prosecutors say, according to the Tribune.
In addition to the beatings, the couple is accused of starving the child and making cell phone videos of their taunts and abuse.
In a video taken about a year before her death, according to the Salt Lake Tribune, you can allegedly hear Emile tease the girl with food, pretending that she's going to feed her some scrambled eggs and then pulling it away at the last second.
“Haha, no food for you,” Emile said.
In another video, shot a few months before the girl died, she's curled up on the floor eating onion slices with a bloody nose.
A third video shows the mother and father playing with the girl's brother and sister while she stands in the corner of the room facing away from her family, bruises and scabs visible on her face.
Costello told police he was aware of what was happening to his daughter's health but he couldn't feed her because his wife would get mad at him, according to the AP.
Emile told police the girl's bruising came from a fall in a bounce house and the burn marks were from sparklers.
The couple is in the Weber County Jail waiting for a trial.
[Photo: Weber County Sheriff's Office]
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