West Virginia Supreme Court denies appeal of Lena Lunsford murder conviction

Crime

Lena Lunsford

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has denied Lena Lunsford’s appeal of her convictions in the death of her 3-year-old daughter, Aliayah Lunsford.

Aliayah Lunsford

A jury convicted Lena Lunsford in 2018 of murder of a child by parent, guardian, custodian, or other person by refusal or failure to provide necessities; death of a child by parent, guardian, custodian, or other person by child abuse; child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury; and concealment of a deceased human body. She is currently serving a life sentence for the 2011 incident that happened in Lewis County.

Offender Picture
Lena Lunsford

According to court documents, the court issued a memorandum decision affirming the circuit court’s order in the matter, as it determined that there was no substantial question of law and no prejudicial error.

Lena Lunsford asserted nine assignments of error, according to the memorandum decision, which the court addressed individually.

  1. Petitioner argues that the circuit court erred in failing to grant her judgment of acquittal based on insufficient evidence to establish that she formed criminal intent to cause the death of her child by withholding medical care. Petitioner further contends that there was insufficient evidence that respondent established corpus delecti: that a death occurred at all, and that the death occurred as a result of a criminal act.
  2. Petitioner argues that her double jeopardy rights were violated when she was sentenced separately for death of a child by a parent by child abuse and child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury, a lesser-included offense.
  3. Petitioner contends that the circuit court erred in denying her motion for new trial
    due to alleged Brady violations.
  4. Petitioner contends that the circuit court erred in denying her motion for a jury pool consultant and motion for a change of venue.
  5. Petitioner argues that the circuit court erred in denying her objection to the burden-shifting arguments made by respondent.
  6. Petitioner contends that the circuit court erred in permitting Sgt. Loudin to testify as to a previously undisclosed statement of petitioner at trial.
  7. Petitioner argues that the circuit court erred in failing to give sufficient consideration to petitioner’s post-trial motions by summarily denying the same.
  8. Petitioner argues that circuit court’s cumulative errors prejudiced petitioner, thus warranting the award of a new trial.
  9. Petitioner argues that she is entitled to a new trial due to the failure of court reporting equipment.

In each of the assertions, the state Supreme Court said it found no errors and no violations of Lena Lunsford’s rights.

She remains in the Lakin Correctional Center.

The court’s memorandum decision uses initials to identify the parties involved. Lena Lunsford is identified by the initials “L.M.C.,” which is indicative of her married name, Lena Marie Conaway.

Upon learning of the court’s decision, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey issued a statement:

We are very pleased that the state Supreme Court has seen fit to affirm the defendant’s conviction and punishment, Attorney General Morrisey said. I also commend the work of our Appellate Division for helping see that justice is served for Aliayah. In a case that caused so much grieving, mourning and longing for answers, hopefully this decision helps begin the process of providing some lasting peace for those who loved this wonderful child.

Patrick Morrisey

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