Crime

Mom who stood by while 18-month-old was killed found guilty of capital murder

The mother accused of watching her boyfriend stomp her 18-month-old daughter to death in 2014 was found guilty of capital murder on Friday.

A jury also found Alexis Botello, 21, guilty of tampering with evidence, according to the Tarrant County district court trial listing.

She received an automatic life sentence.

Botello was 17 when Joshua Beard, 24, killed Tylea Moore on July 4, 2014.

Prosecutors said on Thursday that their case against Botello wasn’t about her physically assaulting the child. There’s no evidence of that. Their case against Botello was that as a mother, she “had legal duties to prevent what happened” and failed to get her daughter medical attention.

She was found guilty by omission for not seeking help, attorneys said.

Botello was also found guilty of going to Walmart with Beard and buying gloves and shovels to bury Tylea. They took her body to rural Parker County — in the 1900 block of Sarra Lane — an area Beard was familiar with. Botello later took investigators to her daughter’s body, which was buried in a shallow grave under a bridge.

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Botello testified on Thursday that Beard was physically and mentally abusive toward her and that she was afraid for her life, and the life of her baby, if she left him or tried to get help.

She wasn’t allowed to contact her family and wasn’t allowed to drive. Beard took her cellphone and her car keys. If she tried to clean the house, Beard beat her, she testified.

“He liked to choke me to the point where I passed out,” she said.

But prosecutor Melinda Westmoreland argued that Botello had opportunities to get help — such as when Beard would go to the gym for two or three hours.

“What’s your responsibility in this death?” Westmoreland asked Botello.

“Not getting help,” Botello said. She later agreed with Westmoreland that she chose to put Tylea in a dangerous situation.

“You realize you could have prevented her death, right?” Westmoreland asked.

“Yes ma’am.”

Botello and Tylea moved in with Beard in May. Twice before then, Botello said Beard had spanked Tylea because she wouldn’t listen to him. Botello said she confronted her boyfriend and told him that wasn’t his place. She said she pushed him and got in between her baby and Beard.

Westmoreland asked if it was true that Botello knew Tylea and Beard didn’t have a good relationship before they moved.

“I knew he didn’t like how I raised her,” Botello answered. She said she knew Beard was controlling and manipulative but she “wanted them to have a better relationship.”

Beard was convicted of felony murder in April and sentenced to life in prison.

Nichole Manna, 316-390-7684, @NicholeManna



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