Babysitter's 2009 murder conviction overturned

Judge orders new trial for Syna Lim in death of Amara Ou

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A woman who was convicted of murder in 2009 in the death of a 2-year-old girl she was babysitting has been granted a new trial, according to court documents.

A judge overturned the conviction of Syna Lim, who was found guilty of killing Amara Ou. According to court documents, there is newly discovered evidence as to the cause of the toddler's death.

During the October 2009 trial, prosecutors contended Lim beat the St. Augustine girl with the handle of a flyswatter, then struck the child's head with a hard object. A jury found Lim guilty of first-degree murder and she was sentenced to life in prison.

Dr. Deborah Thoni told the appeals court that the toddler had a “classical” case of diabetic ketoacidosis, which led to her death, not blunt-force trauma to the head, which was the cause of death determined at the time.

Dr. Aylin Ozdemir also told the court that medical testing done prior to Amara’s death was inadequate, especially because there was no urinalysis done before the child went into the emergency room. Post-mortem testing showed the girl had extremely high glucose levels. Ozdemir said the condition causes uncontrolled bleeding that causes internal and external bruising that could be mistaken for trauma.

Lim, now 48 years old, appealed on two claims, the new evidence and ineffective counsel. She has since withdrawn the claim of ineffective counsel.

"We have advised the victim’s family of Judge Cox’s decision," the State Attorney's Office said. "We are currently reviewing the order and we will be deciding in the near future whether we will appeal Judge Cox’s order or proceed to a second trial."