Paramedics describe finding girl's lifeless body

Paramedics describe finding girl's lifeless body »Play Video
Angela McAnulty in court Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011.

WARNING: This story contains graphic descriptions of a crime scene involving the death of a teen girl.

EUGENE, Ore. - Firefighters found Jeanette Maples on her back in the dimly lit living room without her shirt on.

"Help my baby," her mother, Angela McAnulty, told the first responders to a 911 call reporting Maples had stopped breathing.

The girl's body looked small for a 15 year old - so small, the fire captain at the scene, Sven Wahlroos, asked Angela McAnulty several times about the girl's age.

Maples had no pulse. Paramedics tried CPR and put a tube into her lungs in an effort to make her breathe.

Angela McAnulty appeared agitated, then quiet, then hysterical. Then she laughed a couple of times.

“I just remember it was an odd response," Wahlroos told the jury weighing whether Angela McAnulty, who pleaded guilty to her daughter's murder, should spend life in prison, have a chance for parole after 30 years - or, as Lane County prosecutors contend, face the death penalty.

“Very odd," Wahlroos told the court, recalling the feeling in the "hair on the back of my neck. I have never had that feeling in 18 years. All I wanted to do was run.”

He called his supervisor. And he called police.

“In 18 years, I have never cried about a call," he said. "I cried about this call.”

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Ryan Sheridan was the lead paramedic on scene in December 2009. He met Angela McAnulty in the driveway and told the jury he remembers her talking very fast, saying Maples fell down and last seemed well about an hour before the 911 call.

He doesn't recall Richard McAnulty, Angela's husband, saying a word.

Child Abuse: How does Oregon investigate reports?Inside the house off River Road, Sheridan knew something wasn't right when he found Maples, he told the court.

No shirt. Wet hiar. Bruises on her face, and cuts above her eye.

The girl's body was skinny, small and frail, so emaciated, you could see her bones.

"It was a hard call," he said.

Sheridan was there when Maples died in the emergency room.

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Dr. Elizabeth Hilton treated Maples when she arrived at the ER.

She could find no signs of life in the girls petite, emaciated body. Doctors pronounced Maples dead at 8:42 p.m.

Dr. Hilton was told Maples had no previous medical problems, but said cuts and wounds on the girl's lips were old - and appeared never to have received any medical care.

The girl's front teeth were broken, and there were severe wounds on her legs and back.

Hilton met with the family, and Angela told the doctor Maples had been eating but had gotten very skinny lately.

The charge nurse asked Angela where Maples went to school.

She told the hospital staff Maples was homeschooled.

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Angela McAnulty entered the courtroom sobbing Thursday morning, saying she knew what she did was wrong.

A member of her defense team consoled her.

She continued to cry, wiping away tears with a tissue - and putting her head on the table sobbing during opening arguments about whether she should spend her life in prison or die for the murder of her daughter, Jeanette Maples.

In front of a packed courtroom with deputies and detectives who investigated the case looking on, McAnulty entered the penalty phase of her murder trial, having already admitted causing her daughter's death.

The death penalty phase is expected to last until at least Feb. 27.

McAnulty's husband Richard, who was Maples' step-father, goes to trial in May.

Prosecutor Erik Hasselman said the state would show that, by the time she died on Dec. 9, 2009, Jeanette Maples had suffered for months.

The prosecutor said paramedics thought Maples was already dead when they arrived, even as McAnulty insisted the teen had been fine until just an hour earlier.

The prosecutor said Maples was starved and dehydrated. Her lips and mouther were pulverized from being hit with belts and sticks over a period of months. Her face was disfigured, her head in bandages. On her hip, investigators found a wound where the flesh had been so torn away as to expose the bone.

She had the "appearance of a concentration camp victim," Hasselman said.

The defense team, led by Steve Krasik, chose to wait until the prosecution rests before making an opening statement.

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Prosecutors said the evidence will show how Maples died - and that McAnulty was to blame.

Here is how prosecutors described the girl's treatment and history:

Maples was forced to sleep on cardboard in a room with blood spattered on the walls, floor and ceiling.

In the house, investigators found leather belts and torture devices, as well as chunks of Maples' flesh.

"Jeanette was constantly in trouble with her mother," Hasselman said.

McAnulty would take Maples into the "torture room" and turn on the vacuum cleaner to mask the sound so the two younger children wouldn't hear it.

Sometimes, McAnulty would tie Maples up, the prosecutor said.

Sometimes, she would make the girl collect dog feces - then run them in the girl's face and mouth.

The State of California once took Jeanette from her mother but returned her after the birth of a younger child.

In 2002, Angela married Richard McAnulty, and the family moved to Oregon.

At first, Maples attended public school. Teachers were concerned about the girl's treatment at her mother's hands. The school confronted Maples, who told school officials that she was being abused.

Oregon's Department of Human Services visited the home, where Angela McAnulty told child welfare workers that Maples was a compulsive liar.

Maples was left with McAnulty, who took the girl out of school to homeschool he - and to cut off her lifelines to the public, so no friends would see her condition.

Prosecutors said Lynn McAnulty, Richard's mother, was concerned. Angela denied her access to the grandchildren, and Lynn called state child welfare workers repeatedly - the last time just days before Maples died.

The jury will be asked to render a judgment, and the prosecution contends that nothing Maples did to provoke her mother warranted her "slaughter."

The state charges McAnulty caused Maples' death through "intentional maiming and torture," and that the jury should consider imposing the death penalty.

At the end of the testimony, the jury will be asked to consider four questions:

  1. Was McAnulty's conduct that caused Maple's death deliberate?
  2. Is it likely that McAnulty will reoffend?
  3. Did Maples provoke McAnulty?
  4. Should the death sentence be imposed?

If the jury decides "No" to question 4, they face a fifth question:

5. Are there mitigating circumstances that would mean McAnulty should get life with the possibility of parole?

Ten juror must agree yes - and if no, the sentence will be life without parole.

This is a developing story. Check KVAL.com and KVAL 13 TV News at 5, 6 and 11 for more on the case.