CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Aniya Day-Garrett’s biological father, Mickhal Garrett, testified on Monday in the trial of his daughter’s murder.
Garrett, who says he is currently employed with the city of Cleveland as a parking enforcement officer, took the stand on the third day of the trial against Sierra Day and her boyfriend Deonte Lewis.
Both Day and Lewis face charges that include aggravated murder, felonious assault, permitting child abuse, and endangering children in connection to the death of the 4-year-old girl.
His testimony started with questioning regarding how his relationship started with Aniya’s mother, Sierra Day. He says the two first met in the summer of 2012 while he attended Garfield Heights High School and she was enrolled at Shaw High School.
Aniya was born over a year later on Sept. 2, 2013. She was given the last name Garrett after her father.
Garrett testified that he “wasn’t really comfortable” in the relationship with Day approximately a year and a half after their daughter’s birth.
The couple eventually separated in November 2016 after he spotted his belongings in the garbage, according to Garrett. He moved out to a residence in East Cleveland.
Garrett said after the separation, he would try to spend weekends with Aniya because she was with her mother during the week.
“Aniya would always run right into my arms,” Garrett said when describing the visits with his daughter.
During a September 2017 visit, Garrett said he observed visible bruises on her chest and lower back. He also observed a loose, rotting tooth.
Garrett told prosecutors and defense attorneys that Aniya seemed hesitant or confused at times when asked about her injuries, almost as if she was told not to say anything.
“She would say, ''Mommy pushed me up the stairs,” Garrett said Aniya told him.
He took photographs of the bruises and filed a report with East Cleveland police. In the report, Garrett said he alleged that Day was responsible for Aniya’s injuries. He says he was not aware that she had a new boyfriend.
Following the filing of the police report in East Cleveland, Day asked for a restraining order in October 2017. She alleged that Garrett harrassed and stalked her and Aniya. The restraining order was granted, but Garrett denied Day’s claims in court on Monday.
Garrett says he then started a motion to apply for custody of Aniya, but he did not see his 4-year-old daughter again between the time he alleged abuse in the September 2017 police report and her death in 2018.
Aniya Day-Garrett was pronounced dead on March 11, 2018.
Cleveland 19 News will continue to provide gavel-to-gavel coverage