GALVESTON, Texas – It was a list of nine things that 2-year-old Riley Ann Sawyers' mother and stepfather wanted to teach the toddler born in Ohio to help her behave better.
The list, called "Rules for Riley," included such things as "being polite," "behaves in public," "toys stay in her room" and "listen to mom & me."
But as the capital murder trial of Riley's mom, Kimberly Dawn Trenor, resumes on Thursday, her attorneys will continue arguing before jurors that a discipline session to teach the child these behaviors spun out of control and their client never intended for her daughter to die as a result.
Galveston County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Elias Cazares testified Wednesday the list was written in a notebook found by authorities in the couple's home after they were arrested for the death of Riley, who police dubbed "Baby Grace." There was space for a 10th item on the list but it was left blank.
Click here for photos of 'Baby Grace.'
Click here for photos from the trial.
Both Trenor and Riley's stepfather, Royce Clyde Zeigler II, were charged with capital murder for the child's death. Prosecutors are arguing both Trenor and Zeigler are equally responsible for Riley's death on July 25, 2007.
After Riley was killed, the couple bought a plastic container, partially filled it with cement, stuffed her beaten body inside and stored it in a shed at their home before dumping the remains in Galveston Bay in September 2007, according to authorities.
Even though Zeigler is set to be tried later, he has been constantly referenced during Trenor's trial.
Trenor, in a four-hour videotaped statement to police that was played in court earlier this week, admitted to whipping Riley with a belt and helping to repeatedly dunk her head in a bathtub of cold water.
But she said the discipline session was Zeigler's idea and the three skull fractures that resulted in the toddler's death were caused by him when he threw the child across a room in their home after getting frustrated that the discipline session wasn't working.
Zeigler's defense attorneys, who were in the courtroom on Wednesday, called Trenor's statement to police a "fantasy" and a "lie."
"The only person who is criminally responsible for the death of that child is Kimberly Trenor," said E. Dee McWilliams, one of Zeigler's attorneys.
McWilliams said Zeigler was not a witness to what caused Riley's death. But he declined to elaborate further on this, saying he wanted to let the prosecution present its case.
Trenor and Zeigler met playing an online video game and married in June 2007 after Trenor moved with her daughter from Mentor, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, to Spring, a suburb north of Houston.
Riley was dubbed "Baby Grace" while investigators worked to identify her decomposed remains.
Robert Spinn testified he found the container with the remains on a small island about a mile from shore while he was fishing in October 2007.
"I ripped the bags (in the container) open with some fishing pliers. I saw a shoe. I knew it was a person," he said.
The toddler's identity was a mystery for weeks until Riley's paternal grandmother in Ohio, Sheryl Sawyers, saw an artist's sketch of the girl and told authorities in Texas she thought it was her granddaughter.
The call from Sheryl Sawyers led authorities to Zeigler and Trenor. Investigators eventually discovered the couple had invented a story that Riley had been taken away by child welfare officials in Ohio.
Trenor could receive an automatic sentence of life in prison without parole if convicted of capital murder. The jury could also convict her of a lesser charge.
Prosecutors declined to seek the death penalty against either her or Zeigler, 25, because they didn't think they could prove that the pair would be a future danger, a requirement for such a punishment.
Trenor and Zeigler are being held in the Galveston County Jail under bonds of $850,000 each.