A Uniontown man sentenced to up to 40 years in prison in the death of his 23-month-old daughter is appealing his conviction.
Attorney Jeremy B. Cooper filed a concise statement of errors in an appeal on behalf of Michael Lynn Wright Jr., 35.
In May, Wright was sentenced to serve 15 to 40 years in prison on the charge of third-degree murder of his daughter, Lydia Wright.
Wright and his girlfriend, Andrea Dusha, 29, left the little girl strapped into a car seat at their Uniontown home for more than 12 hours on Feb. 24, 2016. The child was determined to have died hours before Dusha brought her to Uniontown Hospital. Forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht determined the child died from malnutrition and dehydration. He testified that, at nearly 2 years old, Lydia Wright weighed 10 pounds when she died.
In the filing, Cooper claims that there was insufficient evidence at trial to sustain Wright’s conviction, specifically to support that he consciously engaged in malice for not feeding the child because even though the child experienced chronic weight loss, the child was being fed until her final hours.
Cooper added that there was insufficient evidence to support that Wright knew his conduct would result in death or he was consciously aware of the child’s poor health until after her death.
Cooper wrote that the commonwealth also failed to meet their evidentiary burden during a pretrial hearing on police obtaining statements from Wright at the hospital when he repeatedly told police he needed to see his methadone provider. The appeal also argues that evidence collected at the scene before any medical information was available to law enforcement was from an unlawful search.
Cooper added that it was an error to permit Dr. Daniel Church to offer opinion evidence beyond the scope of his treatment of the child, including how much Lydia Wright should have weighed.
“The above-stated errors cumulatively prejudiced the defendant,” Cooper wrote. “To the extent that more than one of these assigned errors is deemed to be harmless error, the defendant asserts that the combination thereof functioned to deprive him of the fundamentals of a fair trial.”
Wright remains lodged at SCI-Camp Hill.
Dusha, who is serving a term of 9 to 19 years in prison for pleading no contest, is lodged at SCI-Muncy.