Not guilty: Woman acquitted of all charges in 2017 death of toddler

Chasity Alcosiba-McKenzie looks to her family after being acquitted of second-degree murder Thursday in Kona Circuit Court. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

Chasity Alcosiba-McKenzie hugs her defense attornet James Greenberg after being acquitted of second-degree murder Thursday in Circuit Court. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

A not guilty verdict was rendered Thursday in the trial of a 47-year-old Waimea woman charged with the 2017 murder of a Waimea toddler.

Chasity Alcosiba-McKenzie was indicted by a Kona grand jury in October 2019 in connection with the death of 3-year-old Fabian Garett-Garcia. She had pleaded not guilty to the single charge of second-degree murder, which is punishable by life in prison with the possibility of parole.


Alcosiba-McKenzie opted for a bench trial, which means there is no jury, and Circuit Court Judge Wendy DeWeese on Thursday decided her fate. The trial began in August, but was delayed after a legal challenge came up. Closing arguments were heard Oct. 7.

DeWeese said Thursday she will file a 48-page document stating the findings of fact and conclusion of law that led to Alcosiba-McKenzie’s acquittal of second-degree murder and the lesser included offense of manslaughter charges.

DeWeese said the law is not about suspicion or speculation, the state must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

“No parent should have to lose a child, and it may be easy to place blame, but the state has failed to provide proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” she said.

She also said there was reasonable doubt as to when the injury actually occurred and that while very rare, an accidental fall could have caused Garett-Garcia’s death.

The judge also noted that while there was no reasonable doubt as to the cause of Garett-Garcia’s death (head trauma), there was a reasonable doubt that the manner of death was murder or manslaughter.

After DeWeese issued her ruling, Deputy Public Defender James Greenberg said it was a just verdict.

Hawaii County Prosecuting Attorney Kelden Waltjen, speaking from Hilo after the verdict was rendered in Kona, said his office was disappointed in the court’s decision and believed the state did provide proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

“The Hawaii Police Department and Prosecutor’s Office will continue to do its part to be the voice for those not here to speak for themselves, like 3-year-old Fabian, and will continue to protect our keiki,” he said.

Alcosiba-McKenzie said she is just glad it’s done.

“I can’t wait to get back to work and see my son,” she said.

The state contended Garett-Garcia died at the hands of Alcosiba-McKenzie.

Alcosiba-McKenzie had reported the toddler fell from an 18-inch bench while wearing virtual reality glasses on July 25, 2017m and did not exhibit symptoms other than vomiting until she found him unresponsive hours later. She contended his sister had a flu previously, exhibiting the same symptoms, so she thought he was coming down with the same thing.

Police arrested Alcosiba-McKenzie in August 2018, who was the boy’s caregiver, on suspicion of attempted second-degree murder and later released her. Charges were not formally filed until an October 2019 indictment, which stated Alcosiba-McKenzie intentionally or knowingly caused the death of Garett-Garcia including voluntarily omitting to obtain reasonable necessary and available medical service. The indictment was handed down after a Honolulu medical examiner ruled the manor of death homicide a year after Garett-Garcia’s death.

Meanwhile, a wrongful death lawsuit filed in April 2019 by Garett-Garcia’s parents Sherri-Ann Garett and Juben Garcia against the state Department of Human Services, Catholic Charities, state-licensed caregivers Chasity Alcosiba-McKenzie and Clifton McKenzie and others, continues. A motion providing additional time for the plaintiffs to submit a pretrial statement was extended in March.

No trial date has been set for the civil litigation.

The civil suit is seeking unspecified monetary damages, which Attorney Jeffrey Foster, counsel for Garett-Garcia’s parents Sherri-Ann Garett and Juben Garcia, previously said would be determined by a jury.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email