Grand Island woman pleads 'not guilty' to fatally shaking infant

Nov 8, 2018

A Grand Island woman pleaded innocent Wednesday to murder and manslaughter charges in the September death of her boyfriend's two-year-old child.

Brianna Valenti, 26, is accused of fatally shaking the infant, Raelynn Rose Fuller, on Sept. 10 in the Grand Island home shared with the child's biological father.

During an appearance before Erie County Judge Sheila DiTullio, Assistannt District Attorney John Feroleto said charges were filed when Valenti could not explain the injuries to doctors at Oishei Children's Hospital, where the child was treated in the intensive care unit.

Brianna Valenti has pleaded not guilty in the fatal shaking.
Credit Erie County District Attorney's office

"Which is at the time that Child Protective Services was notified and then the Erie County Sheriff's Department," said Feroleto. "The defendant was interviewed by the sheriffs. She indicated she was with the child from 6 a.m. until the time she called 911. She provided some explanations for the injuries, however, those were not consistent with the level of injury observed by the doctors."

District Attorney John Flynn told WBFO later it will be a case with strong medical evidence, based upon an autopsy, although he wants to save more than that for the prosecution.

"I absolutely will take this to trial," said defense attorney Robert Cutting. "The only thing that would preclude or stop be from taking this case to trial is if my client said, 'I don't want to go to trial,' but that has not been her position. Her position all along has been they've accused me of something I didn't do and this isn't right and this isn't fair - and as long as she maintains that position, I'm going straight to trial."