Michael L. Wright Jr.

Alyssa Choiniere| Herald-Standard

A Fayette County judge issued an opinion supporting the third-degree murder conviction of Michael Lynn Wright Jr. (left), 35, of Uniontown. Wright was charged in the dehydration and malnutrition death of his daughter, 23-month-old Lydia Wright.

A Fayette County judge denied the appeal of a Uniontown man convicted of third-degree murder in the death of his 23-month-old daughter.

In May, Michael Lynn Wright, 35, was sentenced to serve 15 to 40 years in prison in Lydia Wright’s death.

Prosecutors said Wright and his girlfriend, Andrea Dusha, 29, left the girl strapped into a car seat at their Uniontown home for more than 12 hours on Feb. 24, 2016.

The child was determined to have died of malnutrition and dehydration hours before Dusha brought her to Uniontown Hospital. She weighed only 10 pounds, according to trial testimony.

In the appeal, Wright’s attorney, Jeremy Cooper, claimed there wasn’t enough evidence to convict his client.

Judge Linda Cordaro sharply disagreed in her opinion, calling Wright a “man-child” who took little interest in his daughter’s well-being.

Cordaro said Wright provided very little care for Lydia in the months leading up to her death. The opinion noted Wright sent Dusha texts and email messages chiding her for leaving their daughter in his care. The judge wrote that Wright asked police if he could go to the methadone clinic when he arrived at the hospital the day his daughter died and then showed no emotion when he saw her body.

“The cumulative evidence presented by the commonwealth at trial portrayed Mr. Wright as a man-child who was more concerned with playing video games and buying toys than providing care for his children,” Cordaro wrote.

She found his actions, or lack thereof, supported a third-degree murder conviction.

Cooper also contended Cordaro erred when she allowed Dr. Daniel Church to offer testify about how much Lydia should have weighed, and hypothesize that the reduction of weight was caused by dehydration and malnutrition.

In the opinion, Cordaro stated that the defense did not object Church being recognized as an expert in pediatric medicine.

Cordaro added that Church testified that charts he interpreted concluded that Lydia Wright should have weighed about 20 pounds rather than the 10 pounds she weighed when she died.

Wright remains lodged at the State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill.

Dusha, who is serving a term of 9 to 19 years in prison for her daughter’s death, is lodged at the State Correctional Institution at Muncy.

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