Beaufort woman accused of throwing daughter from balcony on trial

loberle@beaufortgazette.comMay 19, 2014 

Shayla Bryan

SUBMITTED PHOTO

The trial of a Beaufort woman accused of throwing her 3-year-old daughter off the third-floor balcony at an apartment complex in December 2011 began Monday, according to the 14th Circuit Solicitor's Office.

Shayla Jerea Bryan, 24, is accused of severely beating her daughter Dec. 19, 2011, then throwing her from a balcony on the third-story stairwell at Cross Creek Apartments, where she lived. Daniel Brownstein, spokesman for the Solicitor's Office, said Circuit Judge Maite Murphy granted a request by Bryan's lawyer for a bench trial. In a bench trial, a judge, rather than a jury, decides a defendant's guilt or innocence.

The proceedings ended around midday and will resume Tuesday in the Beaufort County Courthouse, Brownstein said.

Bryan was charged with attempted murder the day after the incident, according to an arrest warrant. She was denied bond and has been in the Beaufort County Detention Center since.

In December 2012, Bryan's attorney, Charles Russell Keep III of Hilton Head Island, said the girl had made a complete recovery and was in the family's custody.

Attempts Monday to reach Keep were unsuccessful. The Solicitor's Office has declined to comment on the girl's condition, citing medical privacy laws.

After her arrest, Bryan was to have undergone a psychiatric evaluation to determine her competence to stand trial. Brownstein said he could not comment on the evaluation.

Bryan had no previous criminal record in Beaufort County, according to court records. If convicted, she could face up to 30 years in prison, according to state law.

Follow reporter Laura Oberle at twitter.com/IPBG_Laura.

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