New trial set for stepmother convicted in child’s death, family speaks


PORT GIBSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Questions about a stepmother’s conviction and new information has led to a judge issuing a new trial. The toddler, 14-month-old Jurayah Smith, died from blunt force trauma, according to investigators.

Months after the conviction of T’kia Bevily, there continues to be a huge backing for her innocence.

This particular case has raised a lot of attention in Claiborne County and drawn reactions from around the country.

After a five-day trial in late January, jurors convicted Bevily of capital murder. She was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.

Audrey Smith, Bevily’s mother, said, “The case itself is appalling. She was a wonderful stepmom. Loved kids, loved babies.”

The case gained national attention. The Facebook page #istandwithkia has garnered support for her.

Her brother, Christopher Smith, said, “This isn’t the end. Of course, we’re thankful for the decision.”

The new information brought to light calls into question juror number 24. Court documents revealed that the juror is related to the victim. 

In the meantime, Juriyah Smith’s father, Morris Bevily, is awaiting trial for capital murder.

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