A Kemmerer, Wyoming, woman accused of beating a 5-year-old girl to death last November is now set to face trial in January, after her upcoming surgeries and health care appointments interfered with the trial originally set for Oct. 2.
Lincoln County District Court Judge Joseph Bluemel filed an order last week resetting Cheri Marler’s trial for Jan. 22.
Marler, who is 52 this year, faces one count of first-degree murder and two counts of child abuse for allegedly beating a 5-year-old to death Nov. 22, 2022, and abusing the girl’s younger sister.
Marler had been babysitting the girls for days at a time, court documents say.
Lincoln County Attorney Spencer Allred originally included one count of aggravated child abuse, which carries a potential 25-year penalty. On Aug. 11, he refiled the charges, reducing that count to child abuse, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
If Marler is convicted of homicide, however, the kidnapping sentence wouldn’t matter: First-degree murder is punishable by life in prison with or without parole, or the death penalty. But Allred is not seeking the death penalty in this case.
Marler’s case file contains numerous motions for permission to leave the state to address a serious medical condition or receive care, along with orders granting those requests.
She told Kemmerer Circuit Court Judge Gregory S. Corpening at her initial hearing in November that she is “highly physically disabled” and has spinal fluid leaking from her spine, paralyzing her limbs.
On the day the girl died, Marler allegedly “admitted” to the police chief that she’d slapped and hit the girl five to 10 times “in a clapping motion,” the case affidavit says.
“(She) explained it as though she was clapping with (the girl’s) head in the middle,” it relates from Marler's police interview.
The girl then went into a different room to lie down.
Marler walked in and found the girl unconscious with a large amount of mucous coming from her nostrils, the affidavit says. Marler then called 911 and reported that the girl had fallen down the stairs.
Marler told the police she’d beaten the girl with kitchen utensils the day prior, the affidavit claims.
After reviewing photographs of the child’s body, the investigator wrote, “I believe the injuries are a result of current and past physical abuse.”
He and other officers, “Were shocked at the amount of bruising, cuts, abrasions, and the overall condition” of the girl’s body.
Clair McFarland can be reached at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com.