Guilty verdict in Taft boy's murder

Guilty verdict in Taft boy's murder

Unanimous jury convicts Dustin Wedel of second degree murder and child abuse in the death of 3 year-old James Fanshier.
BAKERSFIELD, CA - The jury was unanimous Monday in deciding Dustin Wedel repeatedly abused three-year-old James Fanshier and eventually killed the boy, finding Wedel guilty of second degree murder.

Wedel covered his face and wept when the verdict was read. He faces 25 years to life in prison.

On January 23, 2011 Fanshier died. He was living in Taft with his biological father's ex-girlfriend, Stormy Roberts. Roberts was dating Wedel.

The coroner said the boy suffered a broken arm, broken ribs, internal injuries, and bruises all over his body. The coroner said a hard hit to the boy's stomach caused his small intestine to split. During the trial, witnesses testified they saw Wedel hit Fanshier on multiple occasions.

Wedel's defense attorney, Fred Gagliardini, said he was shocked at the jury's unanimous verdict, saying the evidence was circumstantial.

"You have two or three people in a home, and any one of those two or three could have done those injuries," said Gagliardini. "And, you eliminate them from ever being prosecuted by giving them immunity. You leave the lone man sitting at the counsel table."

Investigators, however, proved to the jury that Wedel abused Fanshier. Wedel is scheduled to be sentenced December 5th at 8:30 a.m.
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