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Australian mother sentenced to death in US accused of abusing daughter, compared to Lindy Chamberlain

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An Australian mother is executed in the US for the mysterious death of her husband’s daughter, whom she equates to the infamous Lindy Chamberlain case.

Sanaa Cunningham, 7, had more than 60 scars, 100 cuts and bruises, and several ulcers and abscesses when she died at Phoenix Children’s Hospital in 2017.

Lisa-Marie Cunningham, 47, of Adelaide, and US-born husband Germayne, 42, are charged with child neglect and abuse and face the death penalty if convicted.

But Cunningham claims she is the victim of a miscarriage of justice and was set up by authorities to avoid an expensive civil lawsuit over the girl’s death.

She claimed her case echoes that of Lindy Chamberlain, who was in prison in the 1980s for the murder of her daughter.

Australian mother Lisa-mrie Cunngham (pictured) is being executed for the mysterious death of her husband’s daughter, whom she has been compared to the infamous Lindy Chamberlain case.

Azaria Chamberlain was two months old when she was grabbed by a dingo from the family campsite near Uluru in 1980.

Despite Chamberlain’s insistence that a “dingo took my baby,” she was convicted of murder and given three years in prison until new evidence cleared her name in 1987.

Now Cunningham claims she is also being prosecuted by the legal system and will be wrongly executed over Sanaa’s death.

She claims she only followed flawed medical advice while trying to raise Sanaa, who suffered from severe schizophrenia and other mental and behavioral problems.

“My daughter was not killed by anyone,” she told the Herald Sun. “It’s not because someone in a position of power says a crime has taken place.

“My case is not based on the occurrence of a crime. It is based on the response of the state [to] discover that they would face civil charges for the wrongful death of Sanaa.

‘[Like] Chamberlain’s case of the murder of her child, a death became a murder.’

“This is a terrible place, people are treated terribly. People die here for exactly the same reasons the state claimed my child died.”

Azaria Chamberlain, seen here with Mother Lindy, was two months old when she was grabbed by a dingo from the family's campsite near Uluru in 1980.

Azaria Chamberlain, seen here with Mother Lindy, was two months old when she was grabbed by a dingo from the family’s campsite near Uluru in 1980.

Tragic Sanaa Cunningham, 7, (pictured) had more than 60 scars, 100 cuts and bruises, and numerous ulcers and abscesses when she died at Phoenix Children's Hospital in 2017

Tragic Sanaa Cunningham, 7, (pictured) had more than 60 scars, 100 cuts and bruises, and numerous ulcers and abscesses when she died at Phoenix Children’s Hospital in 2017

Cunningham said she knew the death penalty was “encouraged” in the US but thought it was only for homicide cases.

She has two children from her first marriage, including Sanaa, as does her husband, and the couple have two more children of their own.

The prosecution alleges that the couple restrained Sanaa by tying her up to prevent her from expelling fluid from her lungs, leading to her death.

They claim to have found incriminating texts between the pair, including one from December 2016 describing how the girl was zipped to a water container to let other children sleep.

Cunningham claimed the texts were forged and not on her phone the day Sanaa died, months later.

An autopsy found that Sanaa’s death was “indeterminate” rather than murder.

Lisa-Marie Cunningham, 47, of Adelaide, (pictured right) and US-born husband Germayne, 42, (left) are charged with child neglect and abuse and face the death penalty if convicted

Lisa-Marie Cunningham, 47, of Adelaide, (pictured right) and US-born husband Germayne, 42, (left) are charged with child neglect and abuse and face the death penalty if convicted

Lisa-Marie Cunningham (pictured with Sanaa on the right and another child) insists she and her husband were overwhelmed caring for the child and did everything they could to protect her and the rest of the family

Lisa-Marie Cunningham (pictured with Sanaa on the right and another child) insists she and her husband were overwhelmed caring for the child and did everything they could to protect her and the rest of the family

Cunningham’s defense insists the couple were overwhelmed with caring for the child and went above and beyond to protect her and the rest of the family.

A psychiatrist reportedly prescribed a potent antipsychotic drug for the girl, but it made her “catatonic” and the couple took her off it two days before her death.

Now, Cunningham – a former prison officer – has pleaded her innocence from her cell at the Maricopa County Jail in Arizona, where she awaits her trial for three years.

Cunningham has vowed to fight to prove her innocence and will refuse to accept a lenient sentence, but at least the case will not be heard until next year.

If convicted, Cunningham would become the first woman to be executed in Arizona since the 1930s, and the first Australian woman to ever be executed in the US.

If convicted, Lisa-Marie Cunningham, pictured here with husband Germayne, would be the first woman to be executed in Arizona since the 1930s, and the first Australian woman ever to be executed in the US

If convicted, Lisa-Marie Cunningham, pictured here with husband Germayne, would be the first woman to be executed in Arizona since the 1930s, and the first Australian woman ever to be executed in the US

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