Mother Charged with Capital Murder in Death of 14-Year-Old Ciana Roberts

By | August 16, 2023



A mother in Arkansas is facing a capital murder case after her 14-year-old daughter was found to be the victim of homicide by compressional asphyxiation. Shelette Strong allegedly inflicted violence against her daughter, Ciana Roberts, leading to her death. The Arkansas State Crime Lab determined the cause of death and the case is now with the Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Strong has been booked into the detention center. Compression asphyxia was also the cause of death in the Astroworld Festival tragedy in Texas. The offense is punishable by death or life in prison without parole. Law & Crime reported

Shelette Strong, Ciana Roberts

Shelette Strong (Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office), Ciana Roberts (obit photo)

An Arkansas mother is facing a capital murder charge after state investigators determined that her 14-year-old daughter was the victim of a homicide caused by compressional asphyxiation.
Shelette Strong has been accused of committing violent acts resulting in the death of her daughter, Ciana Roberts, in a residence in Tucker on February 27. The girl passed away four days later.

“Deputies were called to a residence on Beale Street in Tucker, Arkansas, where they found an unresponsive fourteen-year-old girl identified as Ciana Roberts. Roberts was transported to Jefferson Regional Medical Center and later airlifted to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock,” stated the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.
Following Ciana Roberts’ death on March 1, the Arkansas State Crime Lab conducted an autopsy that led to the murder charge against her 30-year-old mother on August 15.
For more coverage on Law&Crime: Arkansas husband could receive the death penalty after wife, a doctor who called 911, was found in the street with a knife in her neck
“The Arkansas State Crime Lab determined that the cause of death was compressional asphyxia and ruled it as a homicide,” said the sheriff’s office.
Compression asphyxia was also the cause of death for individuals who lost their lives at the Astroworld Festival in Texas in November 2021. Dr. George W. Williams from UT Health Houston explained how compression asphyxia occurs, stating, “When we have compression asphyxiation, there is significant external force – hundreds of pounds of force – applied to the chest, causing the chest to collapse,” as reported by KHOU.
The capital murder case is now being handled by the Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Records from Jefferson County Jail, reviewed by Law&Crime, indicate that Strong was booked into the W.C. “Dub” Brassell Detention Center on Wednesday at 3:56 p.m. Authorities stated that the suspect surrendered.
According to Arkansas law, a defendant commits capital murder when they knowingly cause the death of a person aged fourteen or younger, under circumstances demonstrating extreme indifference to human life, if the defendant was eighteen years or older at the time the murder was committed. The offense carries a punishment of either death or life imprisonment without parole.
In an obituary for Ciana Roberts, it is mentioned that she leaves behind “loving memories” for her parents, Christopher Roberts and Shelette Strong. Ciana is also survived by seven siblings.
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