Trial Begins for Woman Accused of Taking Girl From Philly School - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Investigation Into 5-Year-Old's Abduction, Sex Assault

Trial Begins for Woman Accused of Taking Girl From Philly School



    Opening Statements in School Abduction Trial

    Opening Statements begin Thursday in the case of a 5-year-old girl that was kidnapped from school and sexually assaulted. Christine Regusters is the only person charged in the case. (Published Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014)

    Opening statements are expected today as a woman faces charges that she abducted a 5-year-old girl from her Philadelphia elementary school.

    Christina Regusters is charged with kidnapping and other counts in the January 2013 abduction from the school in Philadelphia's Cobbs Creek neighborhood.

    The jury is expected to hear graphic details about the abduction of the girl from her Cobbs Creek kindergarten classroom before being raped in a brutal attack that left permanent injuries.

    Investigators say Christina Regusters -- dressed in Muslim garb -- kidnapped the then 5-year-old girl from William C. Bryant Elementary school at 6001 Cedar Avenue by posing as the girl's mother.

    Trial Begins for Cobbs Creek Abduction Suspect

    [PHI] Trial Begins for Cobbs Creek Abduction Suspect
    A woman is charged with the kidnapping and sexual assault of a five year old girl from Bryant Elementary School in Cobbs Creek last year. Christina Regusters allegedly posed as the child's mother in Muslim garb and took her from the school. NBC10's Lu Ann Cahn is live at the Criminal Justice Center with more on this trial.
    (Published Monday, Aug. 18, 2014)

    Police say the kindergartner was assaulted and left about 18 hours later at a park in Upper Darby, Delaware County, about a mile away.

    Opening statements are expected Thursday. A gag order imposed Monday prevents lawyers from commenting on the case.

    Before jury selection even began, the first day of the trial featured a rejected plea deal.

    Prosecutors said they offered the 20-year-old a deal that included 40 years in prison if she pleaded guilty and cooperated. Regusters turned down the offer, opting to go to trial, according to reporters in the courtroom.

    Defense attorney W. Fred Harrison Jr. has said his client maintains her innocence. He said other people were involved in the abduction. The girl's family has filed a lawsuit accusing the school district of "reckless indifference."

    The brazenness of the crime stunned the city, and many of the prospective jurors questioned Monday said they had read or heard something about it. However, 12 jurors and four alternates were selected throughout the day, some of whom said they knew about the case but could judge it fairly.

    Cobbs Creek Abduction Trial Begins

    [PHI] Cobbs Creek Abduction Trial Begins
    Jury selection began Monday in the case of Christina Regusters who is accused of taking a young girl from her Southwest Philadelphia school.
    (Published Monday, Aug. 18, 2014)

    Regusters, who was 19 when she was charged, has been in custody for more than a year on $4 million bail. She worked at a day care center which the victim attended.

    Harrison said he hopes to unearth new evidence about the case from witnesses during the two-week trial. Bench warrants are being issued to get some of them to court. The young victim, now 7, is also set to testify.

    The girl was blindfolded during much of the 18-hour ordeal. She was found partially clothed and shivering under playground equipment, and told the person who found her, "I've been stolen."

    She later told police details of the house where she was held -- including the presence of a talking bird -- that ultimately helped them make an arrest.