August 30, 2005: Mother Kills Infant Daughter by Putting her in Microwave


Yes, you read the title right. I am horrified to be writing this and you are most certainly horrified to be reading this. It isn't too late to turn back.

On August 30, 2008, China Arnold placed her infant daughter in a microwave and turned it on for what was estimated to be over 2 minutes. Her baby daughter, Paris, died as a result.

China was convicted of aggravated murder of a child on May 13, 2011 and is currently serving a life sentence without the possibility for parole.


Even before committing this absolutely horrific crime, China Arnold was no stranger to criminal activity. She had previously been convicted of abduction in 2000 and forgery in 2002. However, nothing could prepare anyone for what she would do next.

Arnold and her children lived with her boyfriend, Terrell Talley, in a housing complex in Dayton, Ohio. On August 30, 2008, the couple got in a fight over who Paris' father was. (Her last name was legally Talley.)

During the argument, Arnold placed her 28-day-old baby girl, Paris, in the microwave and turned it on, effectively cooking her daughter to death. Officials believe she was in there for longer than 2 minutes with the temperatures reaching between 107 to 108 degrees. She suffered from high-heat internal injuries.

Testifying against Arnold in her trial, Linda Williams, Arnold's cellmate that she became sexually involved with, shared details that she had shared with her. Arnold believed that her boyfriend was going to leave her if he believed he wasn't Paris' father, and she panicked. "She said she put the baby into the microwave and started it and left the house," Williams said. She also said that the baby girl, not even a month old, "fit right in" the microwave.

Talley told the prosecutor what had happened. He said that, at the time, he was making money by selling drugs and on August 29, the couple had begun fighting about Paris' paternity. They left the house, leaving Paris with Arnold's 3 sons and Talley's sister, to go pick up alcohol. Then they went to the park and continued their argument. They eventually returned to the apartment, and Talley left to go to "The Spot", the name for the apartment where he sold crack and weed.

When he went back home on August 30, he found Arnold and the baby laying on the couch. He curled up next to them, but when he went to wake the baby up, he saw a burn mark on her face. He felt her, cold and stiff. The couple took her to the Children's Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead. Talley demanded she tell him what happened to his baby.

Talley said that Arnold responded at least twice, "I killed my baby" and that if he hadn't cheated on her, their child would still be alive.


Arnold was arrested after bringing the baby to the hospital, but was subsequently released due to lack of evidence. She wouldn't be arrested again until November of 2006. While awaiting trial, she became romantically involved with her cellmate, Linda Williams, who testified that Arnold confessed her guilt to her.

Arnold was tried in 3 separate trials before she would be officially convicted of the murder of her baby girl. Her first trial began in February of 2008. However, Talley testified that his son had pulled Paris' body from the microwave after a neighbor's son had put her inside. This resulted in a mistrial.

In her second trial, the mother of the boy who was accused of putting Paris in the microwave testified, providing an alibi for her son that he was not even at the housing complex when the baby died. This testimony was enough for a Arnold's conviction of aggravated murder. On September 8, 2008, she was sentenced to life in prison. However, in November of 2010, the court of appeals reversed Arnold's conviction, citing prosecutorial misconduct, and she went back for her 3rd and final trial.

On May 13, 2011, however, Arnold was once again found guilty of aggravated murder. Her defense attorney tried to argue that the evidence pointed to Talley as the culprit, but the jury didn't buy it. Arnold received yet another life sentence, though her attorney said he would appeal it once again. However, this time, her conviction was affirmed. As of 2014, she has continued trying to exhaust all of her options, but she remains behind bars in her life sentence.

Her family, however, does not believe she is guilty. "We speak for the truth," Arnold's aunt said. "She is innocent. We're going to let justice take its place." She was pleased that the jury did not elect to sentence Arnold to death, but still believed they had made a mistake.

Another relative, Crystal McGhee, said, "China wanted this baby with all her heart. That's all she talked about, was having a baby girl."McGhee does not believe that Arnold can get a fair trial in the area because everyone has already made up their mind about what happened, and claimed that the verdict against her was racism.

Before her sentencing, Southern Christian Leadership Conference Bishop Richard Cox called the trials "the most disgusting piece of garbage" while others maintained that if she were white, she'd be sitting at home. Her church, and her family, rallied behind her. "We'll march, push, pray and raise hell until something happens," Cox said before the sentence was read.

But despite the pushback, Arnold remains in prison today with no sign of getting out. In total, 24 people have found her guilty of cooking her 28-day-old baby. There is absolutely racism in the justice system. Black people often get tougher trials at best, completely unfair trials at worst. But this case doesn't seem like one where race is a factor. This seems like a case where a mother got drunk while enraged and decided to microwave her infant daughter. Black or white, you're doing life for such a horrifying act of evil.

Sweet Paris Talley only got to live for 28 days. Though evidence points against this, I hope those 28 days were filled with love. I hope her father doted on her, her mother held and cuddled her, her older brothers adored her. I hope she didn't live 28 days in a home where drug deals happened around her, where fights happened frequently, where her mother used her as a bargaining chip in arguments. Her life ended so unthinkably horrifically, and so I must hope, or even delude myself into thinking, that the 28 days she got to live her life were filled with love.

This is an example of an absolutely, 100% innocent victim. She wasn't old enough to know anything, to wrong anybody. The only things she knew in the world were her parents who were supposed to love and comfort her. And instead, her mother cooked her in a microwave like she meant absolutely nothing. Life in prison seems good to me.


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