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Ogden couple accused of killing child pleads not guilty, will be held until trial

Monday , May 14, 2018 - 7:10 PM3 comments

OGDEN — An Ogden couple accused of killing their daughter in 2017 both formally pleaded not guilty Monday in connection to aggravated murder charges.

Miller Costello, 25, and Brenda Emile, 23, who are charged with killing 3-year-old Angelina Costello, appeared in Ogden’s 2nd District Court with their attorneys. 

Costello’s attorneys — Randy Marshall and James Retallick — allowed the court to bind over their client to trial. One of Emile’s attorneys, on the other hand, argued there was no definitive evidence to suggest Emile could be charged with aggravated murder.

Martin Gravis, one of the two attorneys representing Emile, said there was no definitive physical evidence to prove she caused the death or was an accessory to the death of her daughter.

RELATEDOgden 3-year-old’s death a ‘horrifying story’ of parental abuse, prosecutor says

Judge Michael DiReda rebuffed the notion and pointed to the makeup Emile put on the child’s body to conceal injuries that investigators found during the child’s autopsy.

Early in the case, Emile told police she put the makeup on the child in order to hide her injuries from other children. Emile also said that a large burn found on Angelina’s chest was caused by a sparkler and happened over the Fourth of July.

In a February preliminary hearing, a prosecutor asked the forensic pathologist who conducted the child’s autopsy if a sparkler could cause a wound that large; he said it was not possible. 

RELATEDMedical examiner says Angelina Costello had brain hemorrhages, cigarette burns

When DiReda asked Gravis about the lack of food provided to the child, shown in videos found on the defendant’s phone, Gravis said starvation did not cause the child’s death. 

DiReda ultimately found probable cause to bind over Emile to trial for aggravated murder. He also concluded that both Costello and Emile will be held without bail in the Weber County Jail while they await trial. 

Both defendants in the case are eligible for the death penalty, and prosecutors have yet to file paperwork saying if they intend to seek capital punishment for both Costello or Emile in the case. 

The next scheduled court appearance for Costello and Emile will be a disposition hearing that will take place July 19 in Ogden’s 2nd District Court. No trial dates have been scheduled in connection with the case. 

Contact reporter Jacob Scholl at or follow him on Twitter @Jacob_Scholl.

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