The Ann Arbor News, June 13, 1998

Couple to face trial for death of girl, 3,
By Liz Cobbs, News Staff Reporter

Christopher Magyar and Julie Ann Woodbury will stand trial for the February death of Woodbury's 3-year-old daughter, Crystal Goble.

The couple were bound over as charged Friday by 15th District Judge Elizabeth Hines.

After closing arguments that afternoon, Hines took nearly an hour's break to review evidence, testimony from about 14 witnesses and case laws presented during the couple's long and complex preliminary examination that began last month.

Magyar, who recently tried to escape from the Washtenaw County Jail where he's been since his Feb. 8 arrest, is accused of inflicting the massive brain injuries that cause the girl's death. Magyar was babysitting the girl at his Ypsilanti Township home on Feb. 6.

Magyar, 34, is charged with felony murder, open murder and possession of a weapon by a felon. A murder charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. Magyar has a previous conviction for second-degree child abuse.

Woodbury, 30, is charged with involuntary manslaughter, a 15-year felony, and second-degree child abuse for failing to seek prompt medical care for her daughter.

Hines said that the case is "obviously circumstantial," but she found Washtenaw County Assistant Prosecutor Molly Schikora had presented enough evidence for the couple to stand trial.

Magyar's attorney, G. Stewart Isley had argued for a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter for Magyar rather than a murder charge. Isley said telephone calls Magyar made the night the child was hurt showed Magyar knew the child needed medical attention but didn't do anything.

Isley also argued that the prosecution did not present evidence that Magyar had a motive to harm the girl.

"There was no eyewitness as to who did it," Isley argued. "Somebody caused injury to the child but the evidence doesn't bear out that he (Magyar) caused the injury."

Schikora countered that the girl walked into Magyar's house "healthy and functioning" and ended up unconscious.

Woodbury's attorney, Ernestine McGlynn, asked the judge to dismiss charges against her client because Woodbury was "caught in a web of deceit and coercion" and was "held hostage in this situation" after Magyar would not take her to the hospital.

Schikora countered there was no evidence that Woodbury was held hostage and she knew her duty as a parent was to get help for her child.

Magyar eventually took Woodbury and the girl to Oakwood Hospital-Beyer Center in Ypsilanti. Woodbury told doctors when she brought the girl in at about 11:20 p.m. that the child may have been electrocuted. The prosecution believed Woodbury concocted the story to protect Magyar.

The judge concurred, saying Woodbury chose "to protect her boyfriend over her child."

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