District Attorney will seek death penalty for murder of 20-month-old in Rockdale

Posted at 2:43 PM, Dec 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-13 21:55:23-05

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The Milam County District Attorney's office said prosecutors will seek the death penalty for a woman indicted on a capital murder charge after a 20-month-old was found dead in early December in Rockdale. 

Rockdale police said they began their initial investigation after receiving the 911 call where they found 20-month-old Patricia Ann "Annie" Rader dead. 

According to the arrest affidavit, Boniello admitted to punching, slapping, shaking and squeezing the baby until she was motionless. The affidavit said Boniello told police she squeezed the victim until she felt her bones begin to pop and crush out of anger and frustration. She said she did it for at least three minutes.

The affidavit stated the baby was found dead with scratches, bruising and swollen knots on her head, neck, arms, stomach and legs. This happened while the child's grandfather was at work, according to police.  

Boniello goes by Shayla Boniello and is a transgender woman, police say.

Thomas and Rachel Bond, the great uncle and great aunt of Annie, said Boniello was dating the toddler's grandfather, Michael Matthews. 

According to the Department of Family and Protected Services, a Milam County Judge appointed Matthews as Annie's guardian on May 4, 2018.

Thomas and Rachel said Boniello moved in with the grandfather at a home in the 700 block of San Gabriel Street in November.

The couple said they only interacted with Boniello twice, including Thanksgiving.

"She acted like she loved the baby. She acted like she was there to take care of her," Thomas said.

They said they were shocked to find out the 30-year-old committed the crime. 

"It was horrible. We were completely devastated. Our hearts are completely broken," Rachel said.

They have been advocating for the District Attorney to pursue the death penalty since they learned about the murder.

"Until we get a death penalty conviction for him, we won't stop. This has consumed us every day we wake up," Rachel said. "He showed Annie absolutely no mercy while he sat her and beat her to death so he deserves no mercy."

Police said Boniello put the baby in further danger by smoking marijuana in the presence of the baby. During a search of the home, marijuana and pipes were found next to the bed where the baby had been, the affidavit said.

Rockdale police added they do not foresee additional arrests in the case.

Boniello is being held at the Milam County Jail without bond. A judge requested the Texas Capital Defender's Service in Austin to represent the defendant. 

On Thursday afternoon, they had not been notified yet. 

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