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Judge weighs decision in 4-year-old's death

Posted at 4:44 PM, Jun 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-23 18:24:27-04

No decision is made Thursday in the trial of Chelsey Cook, who allegedly let a girl she had custody of, freeze to death.

Douglas Co. District Court Judge Greg Schatz will now decide if Cook is guilty or innocent of negligent child abuse resulting in death.

On January 5, 2016, police find Alicia Morrow, 4, dead in the basement of a home near 30th and Franklin St. Alicia was naked and wrapped in a plastic bed cover.  She died of hypothermia.

Prosecutors argue Cook intentionally abandoned Alicia by putting her in a freezing room without clothes or blankets three days earlier.  She apparently was upset Alicia wouldn’t write her name on a chalkboard.  When cook noticed Alicia was shaking and couldn't stand about 8 hours later, she didn't get her medical help.

The defense argued that not a single witness said anything bad about how Cook treated Alicia except for that she didn’t have the funds to support her and Cook’s other child properly.

"When you look at the totality of things no cell phone that works, no vehicle that works, it's two o'clock in the morning or whatever time it was, it's cold outside, I've got this other child right here, this child is suffering from something.  I'm going to do something but I don't know what but I'm going to try to do whatever I can to do my best,” said Kevin Cook, Chelsey’s father.

In a police interview, Cook described the condition Alicia was in, and said she put a warm blanket around her but never took her to the hospital because she had a warrant for her arrest.

A defense doctor testified Alicia probably would've died from hypothermia even if she got to the hospital.  But a prosecution doctor who deals with child abuse says Alicia was in the early stages of hypothermia and, with her symptoms, had a 95% chance of survival with medical care.

Cook was initially going to testify in her own defense, but ended up not taking the stand,

The judge will announce his ruling on Friday.  If he finds her innocent of child abuse resulting in death, he still has the chance to find her guilty of negligent child abuse, a lesser charge.