Lena Lunsford Conaway, 35, of Clearwater, Florida, who was convicted in the death of her three-year-old daughter in 2011, appeared in Circuit Court Friday after filing a post-trial motion via her attorney, Tom Dyer, for the acquittal of her case, citing the court did not share evidence during the trial that could have cleared her of any wrongdoing.
If approved, the motion could cause the case to be retried in Circuit Court. However, the motion was taken under advisement and the state’s request for a continuance for more time to respond to the motion, was granted. The hearing was reset for 10 a.m., June 21. Her sentencing hearing remains set for June 28.
Conaway was convicted by jury trial on April 24 of murder of a child by a parent by failure to provide necessities, the death of a child by parent by child abuse, child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury, and concealment of a dead body, after the disappearance of her then three-year-old daughter, Aliayah Lunsford, in September, 2011.
Following the conviction, Judge Jacob Reger granted a jury recommendation against mercy in her case on April 24.
Prosecutor Christina Flanigan has until June 14 to file her response to post-trial motions, and the defense has until June 19 to counter any response the prosecution files.
Because the body of three-year-old Aliayah Lunsford was never located or recovered, the defense is asking that the guilty verdict be dismissed because prosecution cannot prove a cause of death for the child.
Aliayah Lunsford was reported missing on Sept. 24, 2011. Aliayah’s sister, who was 9 at the time, testified during Conaway’s trial that Aliayah was struck on the head with a broken slat by her mother. The witness also testified that Aliayah was treated differently than the other children.
The witness recalled Conaway placing Aliayah’s body in a clothing basket and taking it to a remote area near Vadis for disposal. However, no body was found at the location the witness cited.