Mom convicted in Pa. toddler’s starving death

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ERIE, Pa. — A northwestern Pennsylvania woman will spend the rest of her life in prison for starving her 14-month-old daughter to death and hiding her body in a suitcase that was discovered in a pile of trash on the street.

The jury needed just three hours Thursday to convict Tania Coleman of first-degree murder in the death of her daughter, Alayja.

The toddler’s decomposing body was found among the trash last May by an Erie firefighter responding to an unrelated call.

The Erie Times-News reports Coleman’s attorney vowed an appeal, saying the evidence did not support a first-degree murder conviction.

Prosecutors say Coleman starved her daughter and withheld medical care because she was the “runt” and didn’t fit into her family. The defense claimed Alayja had medical problems that kept her from eating.

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This story was written and provided by The Associated Press Wire.  (Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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