Alabama Woman Marks Granddaughter's 7th Birthday at Her Grave

Alabama Woman Marks Granddaughter's 7th Birthday at Her Grave

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MOBILE, Alabama -

Little Teela Murphy was just five years old when her life came to a sudden and tragic end. Family and friends say the kindergartner's happy spirit touched everyone she met.

June 19 was especially tough for Teela's grandmother, Luci Murphy, who honored Teela on her seventh birthday at Mobile Memorial Gardens Cemetery, where the little girl is buried.

"It's hard to visit your grandchild in a place like this," said Luci Murphy. "You don't ever expect to do this, and especially not when they're five.

A copper gravestone sits at Teela's burial site, engraved with different images of the little girl.

"I miss not being able to hear her sweet voice, and taking her to do things."

It was the night of April 19, 2012, when authorities responded to the trailer in Fairhope. They say Teela and her little brother Jayden were playing soccer in the backyard when Christopher Tyler Smith (who had been living in the home) fired a single shot from a hunting rifle. The bullet struck both siblings - killing Teela, and hospitalizing three-year-old Jayden for weeks.

It's been over a year since that night, and Teela's grandmother is still hoping for justice. She says there's more to the story than just an "accident".

"I know people in Fairhope or any other community don't want to believe that someone's capable of doing something like that, but it happens all the time, and it happened in Fairhope," said Luci Murphy.

Smith is under house arrest with an ankle monitor bracelet in Fairhope waiting for his case to go before a grand jury in September. He's charged with manslaughter.

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