Mark Christie was convicted on a 25-to-life sentence in 1997, serving in Sing Sing Prison, for the murder of Kali Ann Poulton. And now, Christie's back in the Monroe County Justice system, arraigned on a second-degree murder charge for the 1988 slaying of 74-year-old Viola Manville.
When David Poulton saw Mark J. Christie enter a courtroom in the Monroe County Hall of Justice, he felt a wave of emotion flood his body from the feet up. His fists clenched. He held back angry tears. He wanted to jump over the courtroom's dividing wall between the public audience and the staging area.
But he knew that wouldn't change anything.
"It's not going to make these proceedings end any quicker," Poulton said. "It's not going to bring her back."
Christie killed Poulton's little girl, 4-year-old Kali Ann, back in 1994. He was convicted on a 25-to-life sentence in 1997, serving in Sing Sing Prison. And now, Christie's back in the Monroe County Justice system, arraigned on a second-degree murder charge for the 1988 slaying of 74-year-old Viola Manville.
Christie pleaded not guilty to the charge, the result of a recent grand jury indictment unsealed by Judge Joseph Valentino on Thursday afternoon. He's the second to be indicted on the 23-year-old crime, where Manville was fatally beaten in the face and shot twice with a BB gun near her home in Hilton.
Christie was an original suspect more than two decades ago. But the Monroe County Sheriff's Office charged Frank Sterling with the crime in 1991, after a videotaped confession, but Sterling claimed after that it was coerced.
Sterling was convicted by a jury, and lived in prison for 18 years until an investigation revealed new DNA evidence and cleared Sterling's name in 2010.
Poulton calls the whole thing "a miscarriage of the justice system."
"Six years later, he murdered my daughter," Poulton said after the arraignment. "This could've been prevented if things were done properly in 1988."
Kali Ann's mother, Judy Tosh, says she too will attend Christie's court appearances. Speaking to local media after the arraignment, Tosh had tears in her eyes, but was composed and assured.
She says seeing Christie Thursday felt the same way it did fifteen years ago. And though she tries to remain detached from him "not a day goes by" that she can't think ofit.
And Tosh said she noticed the same things about him — that he's cold, unfeeling, and shows no remorse.
"He pretty much shows no emotion," Tosh said. "I try to detach myself from him certainly but the fact that every day I'm reminded why she's not here."
But Tosh says she's there for the Manville family, who did not attend the appearance.
"I think we all know why we're here, we knew this day was going to come, what's done is done," she said. "And I just hope everything makes progress the way we hope it will."
Christie's defense attorney James Nobles requested that Christie be held in the Monroe County Jail, until his next court appearance at 2 p.m. on Sept. 1 for filing of motions and to schedule dates for future appearances.
Nobles says he's concerned about the safety of Christie now that he'll be held locally. For the same reason, Valentino granted Nobles request to refuse to allow recording equipment inside the courtroom as the case proceeds.
Nobles says that the Sterling conviction will be something he looks at as the case moves forward.
"I think it's very interesting that at one point my client had been a suspect and they cleared him and pursued a different suspect who was ultimately convicted by 12 people on evidence that they believed was beyond a reasonable doubt," he said.
Prosecutors say since Sterling's release, they had to examine what happened, and be sure they had enough legal evidence to bring the case back to court.
"It took a fair amount of time not only to make sure we had all the documents from back in 1988 and 1991 and going forward, but also finding witnesses to speak with them and see what their recollections were," said assistant district attorney Doug Randall, who is handling the case. "We wanted to make sure not only we had all the information at our disposal but that there are going to be ways to present that legally."