A North Carolina mother faces the prospect of the death penalty or life imprisonment after being accused of killing her daughter.
Jeanie Ditty, an active soldier at Fort Bragg, was arrested March 24, a day after a coroner ruled the death of 2-year-old Macy Grace a homicide, according to WNCN.
Her boyfriend, Zachary Keefer, surrendered to authorities March 25. Both face charges of first-degree murder and negligent child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury.
Macy Grace was taken to a hospital Dec. 2 with bruises all over her body and life-threatening injuries. Doctors later determined that the injuries were inflicted within a 24-hour period before she was brought to the medical center. They also said the injuries were consistent with child abuse.
On Dec. 4, Macy Grace died.
Ditty and Keefer made their first court appearance in Fayetteville March 28.
“This is a truly innocent victim and we are going to do everything we can to get justice for this child,” District Attorney Billy West said after the hearing, according to WNCN.
A month after Macy Grace’s death, Ditty ordered photos of her daughter appearing as an angel at her grave.
Sunny Jo, the photographer who made the pictures, thought he was doing a favor to a grieving mother and completed the request as part of his One More Time series. He began the series after his own father’s death to give those who had recently lost a relative a way to see them for the last time with the help of Photoshop.
Ditty told Jo her daughter died after choking on a banana. The photographer thought the circumstances were so tragic that he did not charge Ditty for the photos.
Then the news broke of Ditty’s alleged murder of Macy Grace.
“People started sharing the story on Facebook,” Jo said, according to Daily Mail Online. “I asked myself: ‘How could she do this?’”
“I then felt disgusted by what I had done. People started calling me a mockery and I started to lose sleep over what happened,” he added.
Jo provided the images to detectives in the case. He said when the trial is complete, he will delete them.
The next hearing in the case will take place April 14. It remains unclear whether Ditty and Keefer will be tried separately or in one trial.