The parents of a Richland toddler who died in 2016 have waited more than two years for their nanny to go to trial.
They made a simple request Thursday when the trial got pushed back yet again — pick a date and stick with it.
Daniel and Jennifer Schreiber made the request during the Thursday hearing in the first-degree manslaughter case. Jocelyn M. Bellon, 31, of Kennewick, was scheduled to go to trial in December.
They called it a 28-month ordeal that started with the death of their 2-year-old son David and continued with the grief and memories dredged up each time they got closer to Bellon’s trial.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
“We are working parents, trying to stay afloat as we grieve the death of our first born son,” Jennifer Schreiber read in court Thursday.
“With each new extension requested, Dan and I have had to shift our plans both in work and in family life. Last winter, we gave up opportunities to travel and to see other family members around the holidays,” she said.
The constant shifts are leaving them emotionally, physically and mentally exhausted, she said.
“We come here today as grieving parents, and we will leave here on the last day of the trial as grieving parents,” she said. “There is no end for my husband and I and at best there is only some level of closure that is unpromised and undefined.”
The delays have come after the Schreibers waited nearly a year for prosecutors to file charges, Daniel Schreiber said. They accepted the reasons were legitimate, but wanted the sides to work together on a definitive trial date.
The pair, whose nearest relatives are 16 hours away, made similar concessions this year. They want her to have a fair trial, they said, but want the continual shuffling to stop.
“Our patience and understanding has its limits,” Daniel Schreiber said.
Defense attorney Scott Johnson said the latest delay was unavoidable.
One of his experts, a doctor, became sick and wasn’t able to review evidence until recently. Johnson needs the report back from his expert to be able to interview prosecution witnesses.
The doctor hopes to review the material this week and share what she learns with Johnson, he said. A formal report is supposed to come along after.
Judge Bruce Spanner thanked the Schreibers for their patience and being reasonable. He and the attorneys agreed to a Nov. 28 hearing, where they would talk about when the trial would be rescheduled.
David Schreiber was under Bellon’s care when he started choking. He was taken to the hospital and died the next day.
Doctors determined David’s skull was fractured, court documents said. Investigators claim he was injured within minutes or hours of the ambulance arriving.
Bellon was alone with the toddler and his 3-month-old brother for about 1 1/2 hours.