Mom Believed Boyfriend Beat Her Daughter To Death, But Refused To Testify
It’s the tragedy that has gripped the small town of Gering, Nebraska.
Early in the morning of July 11, 2008, two-year-old Juliette Geurts was beaten to death in her crib. There were only three adults in the house that night – Juliette’s mother, Charyse Geurts, Charyse’s boyfriend, Dustin Chauncey, and their roommate Brandon Townsend.
Juliette's aunt, Monica Hall, told INSIDE EDITION, “Juliette didn't beat herself to death. Somebody murdered her."
INSIDE EDITION’s Lisa Guerrero asked her, “Do you think the adults in the house know what happened?”
“They definitely know what happened. There is no doubt in my mind,” replied Hall.
So in 2012, Guerrero and the I-Squad went looking for answers by tracking down the only people who could possibly know what happened: Townsend, Charyse and Chauncey.
Guerrero found Townsend in Colorado. He said he was passed out drunk on the couch the night Juliette died. But said he believed Chauncey killed her.
“I think Dustin went in there in the middle of the night and beat her too hard,” he said.
Guerrero tracked down Charyse in Wisconsin and she also pointed the finger at her ex-boyfriend.
Guerrero asked, “Did Dustin kill her?”
“Yeah, I believe that he did it,” she replied.
When Guerrero spoke with Chauncey outside Denver, he defended himself.
“Dustin, did you hurt Juliette Geurts?” Guerrero asked.
“No, I didn’t, and you guys can speak to my lawyer because I’m done. No comment,” he answered.
But last week a jury in Gering disagreed, taking just over an hour to find Chauncey guilty of child abuse resulting in death.
Juliette’s family in court wept and gasped after the judge read the verdict and INSIDE EDITION spoke with them outside the courtroom.
Juliette’s grandmother said, "I've waited seven years for this. I finally got justice for my granddaughter.”
But that verdict came despite the testimony of perhaps the most important witness -- the mother, Charyse.
Throughout the trial, Charyse refused to testify – she even refused to appear in court until the prosecution subpoenaed her.
When she finally took the stand she refused to say anything and the judge ultimately threw her in jail for contempt of court. She served for three days – the duration of the trial.
As she was leaving the detention center, Guerrero caught up with her again and asked, “How do you feel about Dustin being convicted?
But Charyse stayed mum.
“As a mother, why wouldn't you want to testify against the man you told me killed your daughter?” Guerrero asked, referring to her 2012 interview.
But Charyse’s only response was “Can you please leave me alone?
Watch The Citizens Army Try to Get Justice For Juliette