Prosecutors to seek death penalty against mom accused of killing, burying toddler



SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - Rachel Fryer, the Sanford woman accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter and then burying her body, will face the death penalty, Channel 9 learned on Friday.
Prosecutors have filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty for Fryer.
In February, the Sanford mother was accused of killing her daughter and burying her in a shallow grave in Putman County.
Jeff Dowdy, Fryer's public defender, told Channel 9's Tim Barber that news of a death penalty motion shook his client up.
Dowdy said he found out about the notice of intent on Wednesday and went to the jail to tell Fryer, 32, about it.
"I mean, she was OK, but after we left it was my understanding that she got very upset," said Dowdy.
Fryer said the death of her daughter Tariji Gordon was a accident, but police said Fryer killed the girl. Fryer is charged with first-degree murder.
WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said the notice of intent is not a recommendation that is set in stone.
"All the state is doing is keeping their options open. If they don't file then, they may lose the right," said Sheaffer.
Prosecutors have 45 days from the time they filed charges against Fryer to submit the notice of intent.
In a statement to Channel 9, prosecutors said, "The state filed the notice of intent to seek the death penalty based on our office's knowledge of the facts and the law applicable to those facts.  No further comment would be appropriate."
Dowdy said he is concerned because police just reopened the case of the death of Tariji's twin brother, Tavontae Gordon, who died when he was 2 months old. At the time his death was ruled an accident after Fryer said she rolled over on the child while she was sleeping.
 Dowdy said he also alerted Fryer because of her pregnancy.
"The No. 1 thing was the safety of the baby. I mean, she is seven months pregnant, she's going to be delivering pretty soon and we wanted to tell her well ahead of time before she found out from other means."

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