Jury finds Falls County mother guilty of murdering infant daughter

Posted at 3:21 PM, May 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-07 16:31:42-04

The jury has found the defendant guilty in the trial of a Falls County woman accused of murdering her infant daughter. 

The trial of a Falls County woman accused of the murder of 5-month-old daughter began at 9 a.m. in the 82nd District Court in Marlin, Texas last Wednesday. The jury entered deliberations and found the mother guilty. 

Jurors spent most of the day listening to a two-hour audio recording of the defendant, Dung Ngoc Thi-Zeluff, speaking with Texas Rangers and another hour long video of her speaking with Texas Rangers as she acknowledges that she murdered her infant daughter by strangling her on Oct. 31, 2016.

Zeluff was found guilty of capital murder. She faces life in prison without parole. 

The Falls County Sheriff's Office said that the baby was found unresponsive when paramedics arrived at the home. Emily died in the hospital an hour later. 

Today jurors listened to a two-hour audiotape where Zeluff described how she killed her 5 month-old to Texas Rangers on the night of Halloween 2016.

The courtroom was virtually empty as the jury made up of six men and six women listened to opening arguments from the prosecution. 

Prosecutors said the defendant was fully aware that she committed an act of murder by strangling her five-month-old daughter two and a half years ago.  

At one point the mother cried aloud as pictures were shown of her daughter. 

She held onto a handful of tissues and even rested her head on the table as the investigating Texas Ranger testified.

In the audio recordings, the defendant admitted to killing her daughter because she felt she was an unfit mother, and she didn't want Child Protective Services to remove Emily from her.

On day two of the murder trial Jurors spent the first half of the day hearing testimony from first responders that arrived on the scene moments after baby Emily was strangled to death.

They all described Zeluff as being emotionless at the time.

A CPS caseworker assigned to the Zeluff family months before the murder was also called to the stand.

The caseworker says a plan of action was in place to keep Dung Zeluff from being alone with baby Emily at all times, she also said she did not think the 5-month-old was in immediate danger at the time of her assessment.

The Falls County prosecution is attempting to prove that Zeluff was indeed aware of her actions when she killed her daughter.

Zeluff's brother and sister also took the stand hoping to provide clarity on her mental condition at the time murder.

Day three consisted of a review of the defendant's medical records.

Jurors heard from two different forensic psychiatrists, one who believes that Dung Zeluff was fully aware of her actions on the night of Halloween 2016 and the other who contends Zeluff was suffering from severe depression, postpartum syndrome, as well as Parkinson's disease and psychosis.

 Again Zeluff sat emotionless as her attorney reviewed several concerning incidents prior to baby Emily's murder.

Her lawyer says Zeluff pulled a knife on her husband and hit her stomach while she was pregnant because she was on depression medication and stopped taking her Parkinson's medicine.

Zeluff told one of the psychiatrist's quote in a psychiatric evaluation  "I wanted to kill something.  I wanted to hit something with my car," referring to a car accident she had two days before the murder.

Both sides rested today, and they will start with closing arguments on Monday.

Copyright 2018 KXXV. All rights reserved.