Fate of child's body debated Burial for victim, 10, held up by defense.

October 30, 1991|By Knight-Ridder

CULFPORT, MISS. — GULFPORT, Miss. -- Ten-year-old Beatrice Louise Routh is as homeless today as she was on Aug. 1, the day she was kidnapped and killed. The man accused of her murder is still controlling her in death.

The body of Beatrice, who was brutally raped and murdered on Aug. 1, is being held at Riemann Funeral Home in Gulfport, and her fate is being debated in court three months after her death.

"She was an abused child," said Bettie Mahoney, a friend and traveling companion of Beatrice and her mother, Tami Giles. "They are still abusing her."

Beatrice's body is being held for additional forensic testing by the defense, which is Donald Leroy Evans, who is acting as his own attorney.

District Attorney Cono Caranna said late Friday that the defense has until today to make the requests for these tests. After that, Beatrice's body will be released.

Evans, 35, pleaded guilty to kidnapping Beatrice and confessed to killing her when he led authorities to her body in a wooded area of Pearl River County on Aug. 11. He also confessed to killing 71 other people over a 10-year period. On Oct. 16, Evans pleaded innocent to capital murder and two counts of sexual battery in the death of Beatrice.

Giles has been charged with accessory before the fact to the sexual battery of her daughter. The case is pending grand jury action.

Giles said in a taped confession to police that she allowed Beatrice to go with Evans to perform sex for money.

Evans and Giles are both in Harrison County jail.

Giles has asked to have Beatrice's body cremated so she can take her remains with her wherever she goes, Mahoney said.

She could be going to the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Rankin County for up to 30 years, if she is convicted. Prison authorities said Beatrice's remains could not be stored at the jail.

Said Caranna, "The court will decide how Beatrice will be buried. I do not think Tami Giles should have any rights, even as to the body of the child."

Giles might not be able to choose how and where her daughter will be put to rest.

"Tami does not want Beatrice buried in Mississippi," Mahoney said. "My daughter and I would love to keep Beatrice for her. I can't believe how much I miss her. I have had many people in my family die, and I didn't grieve over them like I have over Beatrice."

Tommy Franklin, director of personnel for the funeral home, said Giles has not been charged for any services and would not be charged for Beatrice's cremation or burial.

Giles' attorney, Jim Rose, filed a motion in County Court on Oct. 22 asking for Giles to be allowed to view Beatrice's body. Rose said he tried to talk her out of the request but she insisted.

"The state would object to Giles being allowed access to Beatrice's body," Caranna said. "She was given to right to go to the memorial. She has no further rights."

A memorial service was held for Beatrice at the funeral home in August.

The service was closed to the public. Only a handful of homeless friends that moved to the Coast from Pennsylvania with Beatrice, her mother and sister, and police officers attended while hordes of reporters waited outside.

Mahoney said she thinks Beatrice would have liked Mississippi. She talked about the beach and going to school.

"She loved the water," Mahoney said. "As close as we are to the beach, she would have had us walking down there every day, or at least on weekends.

"And look how the weather is holding out. We could have gone to the beach now."

Mahoney said she will be happy when Beatrice is not homeless and is laid to rest somewhere.

"I can't go to the grave," Mahoney said. "I can't pray for her. I can't give her a flower. Nothing.

"I just remember the last time I saw her, when our eyes locked. I, in some ways, can't wait until I die to find out why she was looking at me, what she was saying to me."

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