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Too similar? Judge rules against murder trial delay

July 21st, 2011 10:53 pm by Becky Campbell

A first-degree murder trial involving a baby’s death will go on next week after a judge denied a defense motion to delay it because of Casey Anthony’s not guilty verdict in Florida two weeks ago.
The argument didn’t fly with Criminal Court Judge Robert Cupp, so the trial for Russell Long, 26, and Jessica Adkins, 23, will begin as scheduled on Tuesday.
Long and Adkins are each charged with felony murder in the March 2009 death of their daughter, 2-month-old Kaylie Trinity Adkins. Long specifically is accused of Kaylie’s death by aggravated child abuse while Adkins is accused of her daughter’s death by aggravated child neglect.
In a hearing earlier this week, Long’s attorney asked Cupp for the delay. The basis for the motion Public Defender Jeff Kelly filed Tuesday was Anthony’s trial and verdict for the death of her daughter, Caylee Anthony.
According to Kelly’s motion, selecting a fair and impartial jury with the Anthony trial so fresh on everyone’s mind could be difficult, if not impossible.
In the motion, Kelly stated that jurors are required to apply legal principles and rules in a case, including the state’s burden to prove each and every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
“The extraordinary amount of continuing publicity concerning the Casey Anthony case, a baby killing case uniquely similar to the case before this court, puts undue pressure on jurors to lessen this standard in order to avoid the pressure of being labeled, chastised, excoriated and threatened should they reach a verdict of not guilty” in the upcoming trial, Kelly wrote in his motion.
He said potential jurors will likely be unable to forget the publicity surrounding Anthony’s trial and the reports of threats to jurors after the not guilty verdict.
“The Casey Anthony verdict is so fresh in the minds of prospective jurors, because of constant media bombardment, that said jurors cannot set aside the possibility of threats and private and public accountability should they decide to find the defendant not guilty,” Kelly wrote.
Other concerns Kelly cited were proposed legislative action to create Caylee’s Law, polls published in the Johnson City Press concerning the correctness of the verdict and the media coverage showing armed police escorts when Anthony was released from jail Sunday.
Kaylie Adkins died March 6, 2009, after a week of throwing up and not eating, according to police investigators. Long called 911 that day after Adkins returned home from work and found their daughter unresponsive in her crib.
Rescue personnel who responded to the couple’s residence on Edna Court could not revive the child. An autopsy later showed the child suffered subdural brain hemorrhages and skull and rib fractures.
Adkins told police she called her child’s doctor on Feb. 28 because Kaylie was throwing up, but the investigation showed it was the following day that she called, police said in a 2009 court hearing.
An investigator said the doctor told him Adkins was instructed to take Kaylie to the hospital if the baby’s symptoms didn’t subside.
Police also testified at that 2009 hearing that Adkins claimed a different doctor saw Kaylie, but that doctor told police the appointment was for Adkins’ 2-year-old and not the baby.
Police said the investigation showed Adkins knew something was wrong with her daughter and didn’t do anything about it.
Long told police during the early part of the investigation that Kaylie rolled off the couch a week before her death but that he didn’t tell Adkins about it or seek medical attention because he didn’t have an insurance card.
Long also apparently told another investigator that he dropped Kaylie when he was getting her out of the tub.
Long and Adkins, who is represented by Jim Bowman and Donna Bolton, are being tried together. If convicted, they face life in prison.

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