Chattaroy woman acquited of murder charge

Staff Writer

A Spokane County Superior Court jury needed two days to acquit a 31-year-old Chattaroy woman of second-degree murder charges in the death of her 5-year-old nephew three years ago.
Cynthia L. Khaleel was charged in the death of Gary Blanton III after medical examiners determined that the youngster’s skull fracture was too severe from a fall while trying to climb on a crib.
Dr. John Howard, who served as the county’s medical examiner, said Blanton’s skull fracture was the worst he had seen in a child.
Investigators admitted that they did not find any evidence of an assault or prior abuse before filing charges against Khaleel.
Khaleel adopted Blanton, who had been living in different foster homes, after his father died in 2012 and his mother passed away in 2014.
Khaleel, already the mother of three, also had custody of Blanton’s two siblings. Those children were taken away from Khaleel after charges were filed, although she kept custody of her biological children.
In courtroom testimony, Prosecutor Deric Martin said the stress of trying to raise six children was too much for Khaleel to handle and she lost her temper while dealing with Blanton.
Blanton also suffered a severe abdominal injury but the medical examiner said that condition was unlikely related to the youngster’s head trauma.
Neither side offered any public comment after the verdict was reached.