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Deliberations begin in child death trial
1215TRIALBilly Nicely
Billy Nicely

Attorneys gave their closing arguments Tuesday in the trial of Billy D. Nicely, a Hall County man accused of killing his girlfriend's 1-year-old daughter.

A jury heard the arguments in Hall County Superior Court Judge Jason Deal's courtroom and will continue deliberations today.

Nicely, 26, is accused of the March 2009 death of Tayore Wright, his girlfriend's young daughter.

Nicely was caring for her alone in a Pine Cove Circle apartment while the child's mother was at work, according to police.

Nicely reportedly told the girl's family he was holding the child on the stairs when she jerked out of his arms and fell. Wright died at an Atlanta children's hospital the next day. An autopsy determined that her injuries were not consistent with a fall, police said.

Nicely was indicted on a murder charge in January.

In closing arguments, Nicely's attorneys pointed to several other factors that contributed to the child's bruising and injuries besides her fall.

They said Wright had a blood disorder that could have caused some of the bleeding and bruising, and tight braids in the child's hair were responsible for some of the bruising on her head.

"Perhaps the biggest problem for the state is the inability to date any of those injuries," said Adam Levin, one of two attorneys who presented closing arguments on Nicely's behalf.

Prosecuting attorney Wanda Vance said it is highly unlikely so many pieces came together to cause the toddler's death.

"Her injuries are consistent with being beaten with one object," Vance said. "He's guilty based on his own actions and statements as well as medical evidence."

Larry Duttweiler, an attorney for Nicely, argued if Nicely wanted to beat the child to death, he wouldn't have done it at that time because he was expecting relatives to come over.

"As far as he knows, there are three people coming over at any minute," Duttweiler said.

Vance said it is likely Nicely was beating the child to get her to be quiet or sit still. She said Nicely was playing video games at the time, using a PlayStation controller to reenact a possible scenario where he hits her.

"Who cares if people are on the way if he smacks her and she shuts up?" Vance said to the jury. "We're not talking about hours of torture and premeditation. A beating is the only reasonable explanation and you know that."

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