The second trial for a former nanny charged in the death of a Richland toddler is set to start two years after a jury was unable to reach a verdict.
Kelli A. Jacobsen, 30, appeared Friday in Benton County Superior Court to schedule upcoming dates in the 2011 case.
Defense attorney Shane Silverthorn of Ellensburg took over the case in late October and earlier this year told the court he needs a few more months to review the reports and evidence.
On Friday, Prosecutor Andy Miller said it was challenging to agree on dates because of their separate court schedules, but they were able to find a compromise with a May 27 trial.
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However, Miller did note that Jacobsen’s trial could be pushed back to July 13 if needed.
Jacobsen is charged with first-degree manslaughter with aggravating circumstances. She was the nanny for Ryder Morrison, who died on the operating table a day after celebrating his first birthday.
Doctors have said Ryder’s death on June 22, 2011, was from abusive head trauma, which happened minutes or possibly up to 24 hours before he was rushed to Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland.
Jacobsen had been at home with Ryder. His mother, Tawney Johnson, stopped home during her half-hour lunch break but was back at work when she got the call her son was going to Kadlec.
Prosecutors allege Jacobsen recklessly caused the toddler’s death. Jacobsen had said she believed Ryder was either pushing or climbing on top of a small toy and fell about six inches, though some medical experts said the fatal injuries were the result of being shaken or assaulted.
Scott Johnson, who represented Jacobsen in the first trial, tried to point the finger at the mother, claiming maybe she did something to the toddler while the two were home alone the evening of his birthday.
After listening to nine days of testimony and deliberating for 19 hours, the jury announced on May 10, 2013, that they were deadlocked. Judge Vic VanderSchoor declared a mistrial.
A juror later revealed to the Herald that the entire panel all believed someone was at fault for Ryder’s death but they couldn’t agree on who did it. Their final vote was nine in favor of a guilty verdict and three against.
Also Friday, VanderSchoor said that rulings on motions from the first trial will stand for the second trial unless there is a reason to re-litigate them.