Murder trial for baby Willow’s father delayed

Baby Willow murder

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — The trial of a man accused of killing his 7-month-old daughter by falling asleep on top of her while under the influence of drugs has been delayed as prosecutors appeal a judge’s ruling to exclude a statement made by the baby’s mother.

Willow Beeley died in February 2017 at just 7 months old, after she was found unresponsive at her Airway Road home in Warwick. The infant’s death was ruled to be “asphyxiation by overlay.”

Her parents, Ryan Beeley and Mariah Ramos, have each been indicted by a grand jury with second-degree murder in their daughter’s death. Ramos has been deemed incompetent to stand trial and is currently at Eleanor Slater Hospital.

Beeley’s trial was set to begin this week but it’s being delayed as the Attorney General’s office files an appeal to the Supreme Court over the exclusion of key evidence in the case.

The evidence at issue is a statement allegedly made to Warwick police by Ramos on the night Willow died, after officers responded to a 911 call that the baby wasn’t breathing. 

According to court documents, Ramos was sobbing and distraught on her couch as she told police she had come home and found Beeley laying on top of Willow on an air mattress, and Willow wasn’t breathing.

Beeley’s defense team argues in court motions that the statement should be excluded from the trial because Ramos is not able to testify in person and cannot be cross-examined. 

The prosecution says because Ramos’ statement was deemed an “excited utterance,” which is made during a stressful moment and less likely to be fabricated, the statement should be included as evidence.

The statement was also a key part of the medical examiner’s determination that the baby’s death was caused by asphyxiation by overlay, and the prosecution wants the medical examiner to be able to testify as such at trial.

Superior Court Judge Daniel Procaccini sided with the defense in excluding Ramos’ statement. The Attorney General’s office is appealing the decision to the Supreme Court.

A hearing date before the high court has not yet been set. Beeley’s trial is now on hold, pending the outcome of the review.

At a status conference Tuesday, Procaccini acknowledged that Beeley’s defense team could ask for bail to be revisited because of the trial delay. Beeley is currently being held without bail at the ACI. His defense team did not seek a bail review Tuesday.

Ramos’ trial date has not yet been set because she was deemed incompetent. Prosecutors allege she recorded two videos of Beeley in the hours before Willow’s death that showed he was incoherent and apparently under the influence. She’s accused of then leaving the baby with him anyway, returning later to find her not breathing.

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