Woman charged in brutal beating death of toddler pleads guilty to involuntary manslaughter

Woman charged in brutal beating death of toddler pleads guilty to involuntary manslaughter

ROWAN COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - The woman charged in what police called the brutal beating death of 15-month-old Malaya Heun has now pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in the case.

Alisha Carlisle pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter on Friday in Rowan County Criminal Superior Court, according to Rowan County District Attorney Brandy Cook.

Carlisle was sentenced to 14-26 months in prison.

The plea was based on her failure to act when she knew or should have known the child victim was injured, according to Cook.

Investigators say Malaya Heun was assaulted on January 19, 2014, and died two days later of complications from blunt force trauma and hypovolemic shock.

John Travis Turner and Malaya’s aunt, Alisha Nicole Carlisle, were arrested for the toddler’s killing by Kannapolis Police.

Turner, left, Carlisle, right
Turner, left, Carlisle, right (Source: Kannapolis Police Department)

“A day never goes by that I don’t think of my daughter Malaya," said Malaya’s father, Jamie Heun, after court after Turner pleaded guilty three months ago. "She had her whole life robbed from her. I can never hold her again, kiss her goodnight, or see her grow up and live her life.”

Turner and Carlisle were originally charged with first-degree murder, felony child abuse and assault with a deadly weapon. In September, Turner pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and child abuse and was sentenced to between 77-120 months in prison.

At the time, the prosecutor said evidence significantly changed since Turner’s arrest. Apparently someone other than Turner and Carlisle had “access” to Heun during the time she received injuries.

Search warrants that were issued while Malaya was fighting for her life at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte gave more information about the attack.

According to the warrants, medical personnel at the hospital said Malaya was being treated for extensive trauma. They reported to Kannapolis Police that there were seven broken ribs on her left side, her head and body were bruised, and she had a displaced clavicle and torn intestines.

The torn intestines resulted in a severe infection that sent Malaya into septic shock. The little girl underwent surgery and was then placed on life support. She died on January 22.

Records also show that Malaya had a blood alcohol content of 0.02.

Cook also noted that while sexual abuse was initially suspected, that was determined to not be true during the investigation.

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