Court rejects appeal of Marion County child killer

Violet Ray serving life for murder of daughter, 2

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – An appeals court affirmed the conviction of a Marion County woman Tuesday convicted of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, Faith Ray, in December 2008.

[WEB EXTRA: Watch Tony Pipitone's extended version]

Violet Ray, who is serving a life sentence, claimed in court papers in May 2012 that she was wrongly convicted. Her appeal sought to have the conviction thrown out, arguing there was not enough evidence of her guilt for the case to even go to a jury.

However, after a 30-minute hearing last week, the Fifth District Court of Appeals affirmed Tuesday the conviction without authoring an opinion, according to the court's website.

Ray's supporters said her daughter suffered from a medical condition that caused her to bruise and bleed easily. A fall from a kitchen chair was enough to kill her, they argued.

But the jury heard from the state's experts who said Faith died of homicide, and, as the only adult home at the time, Ray was convicted of murder.

After a prominent San Francisco law firm took up Ray's cause, Local 6 began investigating as well, obtaining a December 2008 interview the Rays' oldest child, then 5, gave to a child protection manager.

The boy did not testify at the trial, prosecutors said, because his new adopted mother did not want to re-traumatize him by forcing him to relive the incident three-and-a-half years after his sister died. But the videotaped interview, aired exclusively by Local 6, revealed the boy corroborates much of what authorities alleged -- that Violet Ray beat, kicked and otherwise abused Faith on the night she suffered grave injuries.

The Ray family would not comment on the video because it was not included in the court proceedings.