PHOENIX – A Maricopa County Jury today sentenced Dauntorian Lydel Sanders (D.O.B 4/12/1986) to death by lethal injection for fatally beating Schala Vera, his girlfriend’s three-year-old daughter, in 2009. He was convicted of first degree murder and multiple counts of child abuse.
“Schala deserved to be loved and cared for by those charged with her safekeeping. Instead they perpetrated acts of horrific abuse that ended Schala's life far too soon,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “The jury's verdict of death is a just punishment for a brutal crime our society can never countenance,” he added.
On August 31, 2009, Chandler Police responded to the 2300 block of E. Wildhorse Place to investigate a report that a young child was not breathing. Three-year-old Schala Vera was transported to Mercy Gilbert Hospital with multiple bruises on her legs, arms, torso and head. She was pronounced deceased at approximately 4:30 p.m.
The child’s mother, Susan Witbracht (D.O.B. 1/22/1993), lived at the residence with her boyfriend, Dauntorian Sanders, who told patrol officers that he had hit the child with a cloth belt. Sanders was arrested that evening. Witbracht was arrested the following day. An autopsy concluded that Schala Vera died as a result of blunt force trauma.
On September 3, 2009, Sanders and Witbracht were indicted on one count of first degree murder and four counts of child abuse. Sanders’ trial began on April 21, 2014 and lasted 56 days. Susan Witbracht’s trial is scheduled to begin October 1, 2014.