McDONOUGH — Jennifer and Joseph Rosenbaum are behind bars following their convictions Aug. 1 on murder, child abuse, aggravated assault and aggravated battery in the 2015 death and abuse of 2-year-old foster child Laila Daniel and the abuse of her older sister, Millie Place.
Following the verdict, Judge Brian J. Amero sentenced Jennifer Rosenbaum to life in prison plus 40 years and Joseph Rosenbaum to 50 years in prison with 30 years to serve and 20 on parole. A half-dozen sheriff's deputies led them out in handcuffs.
The Rosenbaums, who ultimately faced a combined 49-count indictment, signed waivers so that they would not be tried separately. They never took the stand in their own defense.
Jurors heard from dozens of witnesses during the nearly month-long trial. The state argued the extent and varying ages of Laila's bruising and fractures, along with the damage of her internal organs and Jennifer Rosenbaum's inconsistent statements to doctors and others about the girl's injuries pointed to ongoing abuse.
The defense argued that Laila's injuries were caused by "rough-and-tumble" play, Jennifer's attempts to perform CPR and the Heimlich maneuver when the child allegedly was choking on chicken, and Millie's own inconsistencies and "lies" showed Laila's death was only an accident.
Following the reading of verdicts, on some of which Jennifer was found guilty and Joseph was found not guilty, Amero said he would proceed directly to sentencing.
Outside the Henry County Courthouse, the Rosenbaum family declined comment following the verdict and sentencing. Caitlin Daniel, Laila's and Millie's aunt, and Tessa Clendening, the sisters' biological mother, were visibly relieved as they spoke to reporters.
Clendening said, "Now I can forgive myself." Asked if she forgave the Rosenbaums, Clendening said, "I'm working on it. There's no hate in our hearts."
The Rosenbaums each have 30 days to file an appeal and four years to raise any habeas issues. As of press time, no appeal had been filed as yet with the Court of Appeals for Georgia.