Case of murdered 2-year-old Florida toddler goes to Supreme Court

A Marion County woman convicted of first-degree murder in the 2008 death of one of her six adopted children has taken her legal fight to the Florida Supreme Court.

Violet Ray is challenging a decision last month by the 5th District Court of Appeal that upheld her conviction, according to a document posted Monday on the Supreme Court website.

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A panel of the appeals court on Aug. 9 rejected arguments by Ray that she received ineffective legal representation during her trial because the defense did not “engage in a highly scientific, medicolegal, battle of the experts,” as the majority opinion described her arguments.

Ray was convicted of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and child neglect in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Faith.

Prosecutors alleged that Ray caused fatal head injuries to the child. Ray contended that the child fell in the family kitchen after taking a bath. In the appeal, Ray said several experts could have offered opinions that would have countered the testimony of a state medical examiner. But the appellate court’s majority opinion said, in part, the “decision to go with a straightforward causation defense, as opposed to a scientific ‘battle of the experts,’ was a reasonable trial strategy.”

Ray, now 45, was sentenced to life in prison in 2012, according to Florida Department of Corrections records.

A 2012 Ocala Star-Banner story said Ray and her husband adopted six children after having a series of miscarriages.

Prosecutors alleged that Ray beat Faith and then neglected to call 911, the Star-Banner reported.