Cellmate testifies in Stoddard trial - FOX 13 News

Cellmate testifies in Stoddard trial

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SARASOTA (FOX 13) -

A jailhouse snitch could seal the defendant's fate.

Barbara Whiteaker shared a jail cell with Misty Stoddard for several days for several days after her arrest in 2012. She says Misty opened up to her right away.

"I actually know the names of all of her children," she testified. "I was in isolation with her."

She says Misty gave her details about the day her autistic stepdaughter Melissa was found unconscious.

"Melissa was acting out, she was screaming and hollering," Whiteaker said.

The cellmate says Misty told her Melissa was acting up that day and began arguing with her half-sister.

"She took Melissa into the bedroom and tied her up to the board."

She says that made Melissa even more defiant.

"Melissa was screaming for 15 minutes. [Misti] was upset about it. She was extremely upset that she was still screaming so she proceeded to go into the bedroom and duct tape her mouth."

She says she checked on her several times, but the last time she did, she knew something wasn't right.

"She proceeded to take off the duct tape off her mouth and she wasn't breathing," Whiteaker continued.

Misty Stoddard called 911. Paramedics took Melissa to the hospital where she died a few days later.

Melissa lived in the home for just three months. Prosecutors described it as a nightmare of torture and abuse.

They say she was often tied to a board, which they showed in court, and her mouth sealed with duct tape to muffle her cries.

Now a jury will have to decide whether Melissa died at the hands of her stepmother.

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