The jury didn’t deliberate long in the state’s case against Torres Boles. The six men and six woman took less than an hour Wednesday to find the Hinesville man guilty of felony murder, three charges of cruelty to children and one charge of deprivation of a child — his own daughter, Andraia Boles, who was 3 years old at the time of her death.
The jury did acquit Boles on one count of malice murder.
The trial started Monday at the Liberty County Justice Center, where it took nearly three hours to select 12 jurors and two alternates.
Afterward, Atlantic Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Melissa Poole began the methodical task of presenting a mountain of evidence that detailed the last 24 hours of Andraia Boles’ life. She died Feb. 26, 2013, at her Bannon Court home and, as Poole proved, her death was the result of injuries inflicted by her father, Torres Boles.
The jury heard how Boles and his wife, Candice Boles, kept the child locked in the bathroom for months at a time, claiming they had no funds for a babysitter or day care.
Poole presented photos depicting the immaculate interior of the house as well as the 60-inch flat screen TV in the living room and 46-inch flat screen in the master bedroom. Tied into the 60-inch was a surround-sound system, several gaming stations as well as a vast collection of Blueray discs and gaming videos. The couple also had their own laptops and various other electronic devices.
The jury was shown pictures of Andraia’s bruised and battered body. They watched as autopsy photos were shown and the state’s chief medical examiner, Dr. Edmond Donohue, detailed 56 pieces of external evidence of physical abuse in 64 areas of her young body that displayed scars that were older and had healed. The doctor also indicated massive internal bleeding had occurred throughout her body and brain. The child’s skull exhibited multiple fractures, some of which ran three layers deep into the brain’s tissue.
Boles never took the stand in his own defense, but the jury did hear Boles’ own words. More than four hours’ worth of audio, taped by lead investigator Doug Snider of the Hinesville Police Department, was played. One portion of audio, nearly three hours long, included the interview Snider conducted with Boles after reading him his Miranda rights.
Throughout his interview, Boles said he had not touched the child other than spanking her behind a month earlier. He acknowledged the scars on the girl’s buttocks were from him and said they never healed properly because of her diapers and Pull-Ups training pants. Boles could be heard crying on the audio and, in the courtroom, he occasionally wiped away tears or shifted in his seat when photos were shown.
Forensic pathologists determined that most of the samples taken from the crime scene by HPD Detective Elizabeth Jackson contained Andraia Boles’ blood. The swabs were taken from the bathroom, where Boles had confined and punished the girl the night she died. She was disciplined for stuffing toilet paper down the toilet, reportedly causing it to back up and flood a large portion of the house.
While under interrogation, Boles first claimed he never touched the toddler and only made her stand in the corner of the living room while he labored over the wet carpet and floor. But as the hour passed, his story continued to change and Snider pressed on.
Boles said he didn’t beat his daughter. He said he saw the injury he previously had caused and wanted to use a different form of punishment. He said he placed her in the bathtub and allowed her to continuously slip and hit her head as he soaked up the water and wrung towels out in the tub around her.
Two-and-a-half hours into the interview, Boles said he might have taken the punishment too far, but he still claimed he put the child in the bedroom she shared with her older sister so she could go to sleep.
The state later proved that wasn’t the case. According to evidence presented, Andraia, in soaked clothes, spent the night in the wet tub and died as her mother and father slept in their bed just a few feet away.
Boles’ attorney, John Ely, contended from the beginning that it was the child’s mother, Candice Boles, not Torres, who was responsible for the toddler’s death.
Ely presented testimony by Medical Examiner Dr. Adel Shaker regarding the time of the child’s death, in which he claimed Andraia died just a few hours before 911 was called and not the night before, as Donohue’s testimony indicated. He said his client couldn’t have caused the girl’s death, since he was doing PT at Fort Stewart at the time she died, and it was Candice Boles who was the last person to see her alive. He also said it was Candice who delayed calling 911. Instead, she called her husband first to report their daughter was unresponsive. Ely said Candice then ate an apple and played video games while she waited for her husband.
Poole presented Medical Examiner Dr. James Downs, who said the techniques described by Shaker are not the standard used in the United States. He added that, based on the circumstances of the incident and the extensive evidence of child abuse, the test Shaker recommended would constitute medical malpractice.
In the end, it was Boles’ own words that the jury requested to hear just prior to rendering a verdict. They asked the court to replay a portion of audio that was taped just before Candice Boles and Torres were taken to Liberty County Jail. The couple were allow to see each other one last time before being escorted to jail.
“I’m sorry … I didn’t mean for none of this to happen,” Torres Boles said to his wife, before admitting that he had left their injured daughter in the bathtub.
Candice Boles will be tried later. She is charged with being party to murder and one count of cruelty to children.
Boles’ sentencing will take place in two weeks, according to Liberty County Superior Court Judge Paul Rose.