›› Live Twitter updates: Shawntrell Dawkins trial in goddaughter's beating death

Testimony is expected to begin today in the trial of a 33-year-old woman accused of fatally beating her young goddaughter in 2008.

Shawntrell Dawkins is charged with murder, capital murder and injury to a child in the death of Milayna Harris, 2.

Her trial is scheduled to begin this morning in the 409th District Court before Judge Sam Medrano Jr. On Friday, a jury of seven men and five women was selected to hear the case.

Adriana M. Chávez

Dawkins has been jailed since Milayna's death in April 2008. Her husband, former Army Staff Sgt. Nakia Dawkins, 36, was convicted in October 2009 of injury to a child, but jurors deadlocked on a sentence.

A new sentencing trial for Nakia Dawkins is yet to be set.

If jurors convict Shawntrell Dawkins of capital murder, she will automatically be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

However, if convicted of murder, she faces a prison sentence between five to 99 years.

An injury to a child conviction carries a sentence between two to 10 years in prison.

During his trial, Nakia Dawkins testified it was his wife who inflicted the fatal injuries Milayna suffered. However, he admitted to police during an interview after his arrest that both he and his wife disciplined Milayna and her older brother.


The Dawkinses were carrying for Milayna and her brother because their parents, who were both soldiers in the Army, were deployed separately overseas.

Nakia Dawkins also testified during his trial that the children were virtually abandoned by their mother, Sheree Harris, who was deployed to Germany while the children's father was stationed in Iraq.

Adriana M. Chávez may be reached at achavez@elpasotimes.com; 546-6117. Follow her on Twitter @AChavezEPTimes