A father and his girlfriend have been sentenced in the tragic murder of his 4-year-old daughter which authorities said resulted from hatred that translated into daily beatings, torture and dehydration over a period of time.
“Unfortunately, because of the actions of her father and his girlfriend, Samiah wasn’t here to tell her own story to the jurors. Thankfully, the evidence at trial told the tragic story for her,” Justin Crocker, San Bernardino County prosecuting deputy district attorney, said in a statement on Facebook. “Samiah was betrayed by the people closest to her and they have now been held accountable for that betrayal.”
On March 12 Ronald Dean Greer, and his girlfriend, Bianca Annie Mae Stanch, were sentenced to 32 years to life for the murder of his young daughter Samiah Christine Cornell Downing, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office reported.
The couple was found guilty of first-degree murder, torture and child abuse with a special allegation of causing death by a jury on Oct. 6, 2020.
During the trial, which was delayed several times at the request of the defense and because of COVID-19 closures, prosecutors said Samiah was repeatedly beaten and tortured while living with her father and his girlfriend in an Adelanto apartment in 2012. The daily beatings continued until her death at the hands of Stanch, who witnesses said had “an extreme dislike” and hatred for her boyfriend’s young daughter.
Prosecutors said Samiah’s father never intervened to stop the beatings. Instead, witnesses said he helped deprive his little girl of water as a form of punishment.
“Witnesses also testified that Stanch and Greer duct-taped Samiah’s wrists and ankles together on multiple occasions and left her overnight so that she could not get out to get water,” prosectors said.
Stanch and Greer also put a deadbolt lock on a bedroom door and locked Samiah in the room so she could not get out during the day or night. And according to court testimony, “on one occasion, Samiah was able to get out to the kitchen where she drank the only liquid she could find, which was a cleaning solution.”
On the day before her death, prosecutors said Samiah was beaten and forced to stand in the corner for eight hours. The next day, the abuse continued when Stanch beat Samiah all over her body with a belt and cords.
“Stanch then poured a pot of boiling water on Samiah’s back and chest. Samiah was also denied water to drink during these final days of her life,” prosecutors said at trial.
On the night she died, Samiah was “lethargic” and “sleepy.” She was locked inside a bedroom in her apartment and was left with Stanch’s cousin, Rayshawn Stanch, while she and Greer went to out dinner, prosecutors said. When they returned to the apartment, Samiah was dead.
The DA’s office said Stanch, Greer and Rayshawn Stanch drove Samiah’s body out to the desert and buried her. According to an autopsy, Samiah died of dehydration and her weight was placed in the fifth percentile for her age. She had been in the 50th percentile for weight just six months before her death.
“Friends, family members, and teachers testified about the sweet and happy little girl they knew and loved. Greer took the stand in his own defense and denied being aware of the abuse his daughter had endured,” the DA’s statement said. “Several inconsistencies emerged during cross-examination on the events of 2012 and what Greer knew about how Samiah was being treated.”
Rayshawn Stanch pled guilty earlier this year to his involvement in Samiah’s death, prosecutors reported.
In its statement, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office urged anyone who may be aware of the abuse of a child to call 911: “You may be their only hope, and you could be saving their life.”