Prosecution seeks motion to continue Lunsford case

WESTON — The prosecution has filed a motion to continue the trial of Lena Marie Conaway-Lunsford, who is accused of killing her 3-year-old daughter, Aliayah, six years ago.

Lewis County Circuit Clerk Beth Burkhart confirmed the filing had been made, but said no decision has been made regarding the request.

“The motion states that it’s from (Lewis County Prosecuting Attorney) Christina Flanigan; there is a request that they move it to the next term of court,” Burkhart said Monday. “There is no statement of why and there is no hearing date set yet. … There has not been, to date as of right now, a hearing date set.”

If the motion to continue is granted, the trial could be held any time during the next term of court, which runs November through February.

Lunsford remains incarcerated at Central Regional Jail, in Sutton, on a $250,000 cash-only bond.

On Sept. 24, 2011, 3-year-old Aliayah Lunsford died of a blunt-force strike to the head with a solid handheld object inside her Lewis County residence, police alleged during a press conference in November. The little girl’s mother then neglected to provide medical attention and orchestrated an attempt to cover up the crime and allege the child was missing, police said.

Lena Lunsford allegedly “knowingly and intentionally” struck the child while inside their home, according to a criminal complaint. There were witnesses to the bludgeoning of the child who stated Aliayah Lunsford fell to the ground from the head injury, the complaint alleges.

Lena Lunsford did not immediately provide help or medical assistance to the child and did not allow others present to provide medical assistance or contact medical personnel to assist the victim, who was visibly suffering from trauma caused by the attack, the complaint alleges.

Aliayah Lunsford died within hours of being struck. After her death, Lena Lunsford allegedly took steps to conceal the crime, the complaint states. These steps included originating a fictitious narrative regarding the death, destroying evidence, concealing the victim’s body and instructing witnesses to conceal the true circumstances of the victim’s death, according to the complaint.

Lena Lunsford is the birth mother of the victim, who was under the care and custody of her mother at the time of the incident, the complaint states.

The death of Aliayah led to an intensive search involving police and members of the community.