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Trial starts for Texas stepmother accused of starving boy to death

By Marice Richter

DALLAS (Reuters) - Lawyers for a Texas woman accused of starving her 10-year-old stepson to death and dumping his body in a creek bed told a court at the start of her trial on Wednesday that she was trying to protect the child from his father.

Elizabeth Ramsey, 33, is charged with injury to a child and faces up to 99 years in prison for her role in the death of Johnathan Ramsey. Her husband and the boy's father, Aaron Ramsey, was sentenced to life in prison last year in the death.

"Aaron Ramsey was the monster," defense attorney Paul Johnson was quoted as saying by the Dallas Morning News, adding that Elizabeth was forced into the crime.

Prosecutors have said Elizabeth is just as guilty as her husband in killing the boy and dumping his body.

The boy's remains were discovered in April 2012 after a month-long search.

At the time of their arrest, the couple confessed to locking the boy in a bedroom and feeding him only bread and water as punishment for misbehavior, law enforcement officials said.

(Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Eric Walsh)