Nanny trial jurors to return to courtroom, unclear if they've reached verdict

Tri-City HeraldMay 10, 2013 

— The jury in the Benton County manslaughter trial of Kelli A. Jacobsen will be returning to the courtroom at 1 p.m., though it’s not clear if they’ve reached a verdict.

Jurors have been deliberating since Tuesday afternoon.

In that time, they’ve had a few questions for the court, all of which have been handled by Judge Vic VanderSchoor sending a message back to the closed jury room. None of those have been addressed in an open courtroom.

This is the first time the judge has asked both sides in the criminal case to return after jurors pushed the bell for their room.

Jacobsen, 28, is charged in Benton County Superior Court with first-degree manslaughter with aggravating circumstances.

Prosecutors allege she recklessly caused the June 22, 2011, death of Ryder Morrison — a 1-year-old boy who was in surgery when he died from what doctors called abusive head trauma.

Jacobsen was the toddler’s live-in nanny.

She had called 911 shortly after noon, saying that while preparing a snack in the kitchen she heard a thud and found Ryder unconscious on the ground with his eyes rolling back into his head.

She had said she believed Ryder was either pushing or climbing on top of a small toy and fell about six inches.

Some medical experts said the fatal injures were the result of being shaken or assaulted, not falling.

Defense attorney Scott Johnson argued that the evidence didn’t add up and, if anything, gave the jury a number of reasons to doubt Jacobsen did the crime.

The trial started April 22 and, after nine days of testimony and evidence, went to the jury.

Check back for updates.

-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; kkraemer@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @KristinMKraemer

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