UNIONTOWN (KDKA) — The Fayette County man on trial in the starvation death of his young daughter has been convicted of third-degree murder.
Michael Wright Jr., of Uniontown, could face up to 20-40 years in prison for the February 2016 death of 23-month-old Lydia Wright.
As he walked out of the court room Thursday, Wright said, “I’m innocent.”
According to testimony at the trial, the girl was found living in deplorable conditions. She was strapped to a car seat and unable to move.
Investigators said Wright and his partner, Andrea Dusha, would allegedly eat meals in front of the little girl, who was malnourished and dehydrated.
“When you see, especially your own children, you put their needs ahead of your own, and that certainly didn’t happen in this case. The record was replete with one of the chief concerns of the defendant was where he could get his methadone on the very morning of [the child’s] death,” Assistant District Attorney Melinda Dellarose said.
Dusha testified against Wright during the trial.
Police say Dusha brought the toddler already dead to Uniontown Hospital in 2016, claiming the child had developed an illness. But autopsy results showed the little girl weighed only 10 pounds, when a child of that age normally weighs as much as 20 pounds.
Prosecutors asked for a first-degree murder conviction, which could have meant life behind bars for Wright, but prosecutors say they’re pleased with the verdict.
“To know that both people who are responsible for putting [the child] there are going to spend time in prison for that is very gratifying,” Dellarose said. “Unfortunately, no matter what the outcome is in the court room, [it] can’t ever bring her back.”
Dusha has pleaded guilty in the case and is waiting to be sentenced.
Wright will be sentenced on May 24.