The story of how 18-month-old Tylea Moore was killed starts before she was even born.
Her mother, Alexis Botello, was a 16-year-old high school student when she gave birth to Tylea on New Year’s Eve 2012.
The child’s father joined the Marines and left the area soon after, according to Botello’s attorney. Botello was able to graduate from high school early. She won a scholarship to attend a local college. Then in 2013, she met Joshua Beard on Facebook. They started dating.
Beard would go on to beat Tylea, eventually killing her on another holiday — July 4, 2014. Beard was sentenced to life in prison for capital murder in April.
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Now, Botello, 21, is on trial for the same charge, and for tampering with evidence.
Prosecutors allege that Botello stood by while Beard murdered her child.
An arrest warrant says on that day, Beard pushed and yelled at Tylea. Botello screamed at him, but Beard kept hitting the child. Then he picked up Tylea, whom he called the “little demon,” according to the warrant, and threw her so hard on a bed that she bounced off and landed on the floor, where Beard repeatedly stomped on her stomach.
Tylea had 22 rib fractures and lacerations on multiple organs, prosecutors told jurors Tuesday morning.
They said Botello helped Beard to bury Tylea in the 1900 block of Sarra Lane in a rural part of Parker County, near Springtown. Her body was found under a bridge.
However, Botello’s attorney, J. Warren St. John, painted a different picture of the couple’s relationship for jurors.
He said Botello did everything she could to keep Beard from hurting her child, and that she was abused by him and afraid of him.
“Joshua Beard is a sociopath, sexual offender and killer,” he told jurors. “Joshua Beard killed that baby, not my client. He sexually assaulted Alexis Botello to get what he wanted.”
He said Beard was “all controlling” and wouldn’t let Botello have contact with her family. He used beating Tylea to control Botello, so she let him do whatever he wanted to her, which included beating her and having sex with her, St. John said.
“She (couldn’t) attend her (high school) graduation because Joshua Beard beat her up,” St. John said. He said Botello had bruises and cuts on her face.
Botello and Tylea eventually moved in with Beard. Prosecutors said they were squatting at Beard’s family’s old house in the 2200 block of Polo Club Court in Arlington. St. John said the abuse worsened.
When Tylea stopped breathing on July 4, 2014, St. John said Beard was the one who orchestrated where to bury the child. He said Botello was too afraid to fight Beard. He threatened to kill her and her family if she told anyone what happened, St. John said.
The couple then went to a motel in Arlington and Beard was arrested on drug charges and traffic violations. He called his aunt, Trina McKenzie, who went to the motel to get Botello.
She testified Tuesday that Botello was in the car whimpering. When McKenzie asked Botello where Tylea was, Botello said the baby was with her mom, but then said she didn’t know.
McKenzie soon made a frantic 911 call to Arlington police and Botello eventually took officers to Tylea’s body.
A jury of six women and six men is expected to decide if Botello is guilty of capital murder and tampering with evidence this week.