Nanny's trial set for April 22

Kristin M. Kraemer, Tri-City HeraldMarch 28, 2013 

A 28-year-old woman is set to face a Benton County jury April 22 on allegations she killed a 1-year-old boy she'd been hired to watch.

Kelli Anne Jacobsen's trial remains on track to start in less than a month, attorneys said Thursday during a five-minute hearing.

Jacobsen is charged with first-degree manslaughter for the June 22, 2011, death of Ryder Morrison.

She has maintained her innocence.

Prosecutors allege the Richland nanny recklessly caused Ryder's death by inflicting abusive head trauma to the boy.

The charge includes aggravating circumstances alleging Ryder was particularly vulnerable, incapable of resistance and his death had a destructive and foreseeable impact on others.

Tawney Johnson saw her son when she went home for lunch that day, and was back at work by noon.

Then at 12:14 p.m., Jacobsen called 911 and told authorities Ryder fell when she was in the kitchen getting him a snack, according to court documents. She ran to the living room and found Ryder on his back.

Ryder -- who celebrated his first birthday the day before -- died in surgery.

Emergency room doctors at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland have said the boy's injuries, including a brain bleed, were inconsistent with the nanny's story, documents said.

A pediatrician at Children's Hospital in Seattle reviewed autopsy and medical records and concluded that the injuries Ryder had normally are from severe whiplash that can also cause neck muscle and spinal cord bleeding.

On Thursday, Prosecutor Andy Miller and defense lawyer Scott Johnson provided the court with an updated extensive list of witnesses.

The trial is expected to last about three weeks given the number of expert witnesses.

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