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Third day of testimony in Roseanne Whalen murder trial

Hamilton – Yesterday was the third day of testimony of Rainbow Hill, who was charged in the death of 2-year-old Marissa Whalen, whose remains were found on Third Line west of Chiefswood Road back in October 2011. Hill was convicted in her death back in August 2013 and sentenced to life in prison. Roseanne Whalen, mother of Marissa, is now on trial for second degree murder, criminal negligence causing death and accessory after the fact to murder, which she has plead not guilty to. The jury trial consists of 8 women and 4 men.

Hamilton – Yesterday was the third day of testimony of Rainbow Hill, who was charged in the death of 2-year-old Marissa Whalen, whose remains were found on Third Line west of Chiefswood Road back in October 2011. Hill was convicted in her death back in August 2013 and sentenced to life in prison. Roseanne Whalen, mother of Marissa, is now on trial for second degree murder, criminal negligence causing death and accessory after the fact to murder, which she has plead not guilty to. The jury trial consists of 8 women and 4 men.

Today, Hill is now on the stand for a fourth day of cross-examination by Whalen’s lawyer, Geoffrey Hadfield. Hill’s testimony yesterday of how she ‘accidentally’ dropped little Marissa into a bathtub, hitting her face on the tub faucet, had some people in the court in tears. Hill explained that after a morning of arguing with her then-partner, Whalen, because Marissa had soiled her diaper, it angered Hill enough to carry Marissa to the bathroom and fill the tub with water to give her a bath.

Yesterday, Hill told Hadfield that Child and Family Services (CFS) were involved in both her and Whalen’s lives. Hill stated she had been ‘dealing with’ CFS for over a year. CFS were also investigating Whalen’s child(ren) as well, separately. Hill also stated that at one point, CFS had merged both their files, as they were living in the same home and after they split in May 2010, CFS separated their files again.

Hill told the courtroom that her relationship with Whalen was ‘not a pleasant experience’ and during that time, she had not been faithful and was seeing at least one guy on the side. Hill described her relationship with Whalen as argumentative, which increased over time. Daily arguments in front of their kids, including Marissa became the norm.

Hill’s biggest concern was Whalen’s daughter, Marissa and repeatedly told Whalen that she didn’t want the ‘burdens of having another child in her home,’ as she had 2 kids of her own. Hill stated, Whalen kept, ‘dragging me back, dragging me back, dragging me back,’ into the relationship and finally she let Whalen and Marissa back into her home.

“I was good to Marissa in the beginning,’” stated Hill but admitted that Whalen’s family was too much for her and she felt, ‘suffocated and burdened.’

Hill had originally told a police officer at the time of her arrest that she never hit Marissa and she had taken care of her since the time she was born. But overtime, her story continued to change.

Hill stated that there was no physical abuse towards the baby while she was dating her mother between May 2010 and June 2011. But in July, beatings of little Marissa at the hands of Rainbow Hill became an every day occurrence. And on July 4, Marissa suffered blows to her face, which were so bad that her mom, Hill and both Hill and Whalen’s parents, kept her from the public eye, indicating that both Hill and Whalen’s parents knew the extent to which little Marissa was being abused.

Hill admitted in court that there was, ‘physical aggression towards Marissa,’ by her in July 2011. Hill told the court, “Yes I messed her face up,” referring to what Hadfield described as, ‘an explosive and violent incident involving the baby on or before July 5, 2011.’

Hill also admitted that, ‘it became a daily thing after that,’ referring to the physical abuse of little Marissa. Asked to describe the abuse in more detail, Hill told Whalen’s lawyer that she didn’t recall because, ‘In July of 2011, me and Roseanne spent many days getting high on marijuana.’ She then stated she didn’t specifically recall the July 5 incident because, “This child endured a lot of abuse (from me), and I don’t recall the July 5 incident. She was physically abused in some way on her face is all I know.”

On July 28 or 29, Hill and Whalen had woken up at Hill’s apartment and were in Hill’s bedroom. Marissa was sleeping on the floor in the bedroom of Hill’s daughter where she usually slept. Hill explained that both her and Whalen went into the bedroom that Marissa was in to find that her diaper was full. At this point Hill stated she ‘applied force’ to Marissa but did not recall how much force she used.

At this point, Hill and Whalen took Marissa into the bathroom where the argument continued. Hill stated that while they were arguing, Hill was holding Marissa. Whalen then left the bathroom at which point Hill stated she turned on the water so that Marissa could take a bath but according to Hill, “She slipped out of my arms and fell and struck her head on a portion of the bath tub going face first into the faucets,” at which point Marissa sustained a fatal blow and would not recover.

In tears, Hill told the court, “The baby fell from my arms when I was turning on the tap. I did not do this purposely.”

Hill then picked up Marissa who was lying face down in the tub. Hill said Marissa was limp and her eyes rolled back inside her head. She yelled Marissa’s name at least once and called for Whalen to come into the bathroom. Whalen then took Marissa and laid her down on the floor at which point one of them tried to resuscitate her.

To no avail, Whalen or Hill then picked Marissa up and headed to the upstairs apartment, which belonged to Hill’s mother and stepfather. Hill or Whalen knocked on their door, at which point Hill’s stepfather, Patrick McKay came out, took one look at Marissa and said, “I can’t help her.” McKay then called 911.

The 911 call was played at the second day of trials. A voice was heard yelling, “Dad, dad, she’s breathing, does that mean she’s still alive?” When asked if this was her voice, Hill said, “It could be.” The 911 call was then cancelled, not knowing if Marissa was alive or dead. Hill stated, “We couldn’t have the ambulance come looking the way she did.” When paramedics arrived, everyone lied and hid the unconscious or deceased Marissa in the basement.

A short time after the fall, Whalen told Hill that her daughter was dead. Hill told the court, ‘we both believed she had passed.’

The same day Marissa had passed away, Hill with the help from her sister Amanda Dipota , drove Marissa’s body from Fort Erie to Six Nations to an area on Third Line, west of Chiefswood Road to bury her. Dipota was convicted with being an accessory after the fact to murder and indignity to human remains. She pled guilty back in June 2013 and received 3 years, 4 months and 2 days of incarceration.

Marissa Whalen was not reported missing until October 8, 2011 and her body was found on October 16. She was positively identified in January of 2012.

The trial continues today where Hill, the Crown’s witness, is still being cross-examined by Whalen’s lawyer. The trial is expected to last three weeks.

CUTLINE: Roseanne Whalen, 26, is standing trial in a Hamilton Courthouse on 2nd degree murder charges in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Marissa Whalen whose remains were found on the Six Nations Reserve back in October 2011.

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Jen MtPleasant

Jen MtPleasant

Tuscarora Nation. Honours BA Criminology, Class of 2013. Advocate for missing and murdered ogwehoweh men and women. @JenMtPleasant

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  • harrins
    March 29, 2014, 12:15 pm

    This is so sick I cannot believe these people all ,in on a murder. A two year old baby that lived in fear every day it breaks your heart . The fact the family was in on it should put them all in prison , what a pile of trash they are I hope they get what is coming to them.

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