Flower Girl's Tragic Case in Legal Limbo

Veronica Cirella is free and at home, where her 8-year-old child was found dead.

The tragic case that wrenched the heart of the Plainview community stands in a legal limbo, and if a single emotion pervades in the death of flower girl Julie Cirella, it is one of profound sadness.

This week, Patch approached the Plainview home where the child was found dead on that terrible July day. The reporter asked to speak to the girl's mother, , who was on the steps. She smiled and waved gently, as if to say "hello."

Before she could speak, , Julie's grandmother, ushered Veronica inside the home. Dolores politely declined comment and closed the door. 

Cirella, 31, had been accused of second-degree manslaughter in connection with the death of her 8-year-old daughter, who was found dead on the floor of their Shelly Court home on July 23.

The District Attorney's office said it cannot discuss the legal case, except to say it is still "pending." However, Veronica Cirella's name has disappeared from online court information.

What is known is this: Veronica Cirella is free, and has been, since last September. She was scheduled to appear in a series of court hearings in August. Then, her lawyer, , successfully argued that Nassau prosecutors did not indict her or present the case to a judge within the legal time limit. The legal maneuver earned Veronica her freedom on Sept. 7.

Prosecutors said Veronica poisoned the disabled girl by giving the girl food she was allergic to. Both Keahon and Veronica's legal aid attorney denied the charges. Cirella was released without bail.

Doloros Cirella discovered Veronica alive nearby, a cord wrapped around her neck, and prosecutors said a suicide note of sorts was found. It read: “her daughter should die.” She was arraigned at her hospital bedside and has since recovered.

Autopsy results on Julie's body were inconclusive. It is not known whether further testing resulted in new evidence. Chris Munzing, a spokesman for the Nassau County District Attorney's office, said he could not discuss the case except to say it was still "pending."

Julie, who had cerebral palsy, was to be a flower girl in her cousin’s wedding on the day her body was found. At the the arrest, Nassau County Detective Lt. Kevin Smith said the girl’s wheelchair, decorated for the wedding, was found nearby.

“We don’t know what caused the death of the 8-year-old child," Smith said in August. "There are no outward signs of violence or any trauma to that child. So it’s still very much under investigation.”

At the time, neighbors described the mother as attentive and loving to Julie.

Keahon, a prominent criminal attorney with a practice in Hauppauge, did not return two phone calls this week to his office. His secretary said Mr. Keahon would discuss the case when "he is free."


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