The trial of a Richland nanny accused of causing a fatal head injury to a 1-year-old boy nearly a year ago still is up in the air as her defense attorney waits for a report from an expert.
Kelli Anne Jacobsen's trial was previously tentatively set for Aug. 13, but defense attorney Scott Johnson continued to tell the court it likely will need to be pushed to early next year.
Johnson told Judge Vic VanderSchoor on Tuesday that he's still waiting on the expert's report, but he's on track to receive it by the end of this month.
The issue, however, is that his expert is not available for trial until December, but the state's forensic pathologist is unavailable from early November to the end of the year, he said.
"It looks like a realistic date is in January," Johnson said.
Benton County Prosecutor Andy Miller said he didn't think the trial should be delayed that long and it didn't seem prudent to "have the case revolve around a mystery witness."
Johnson said he's not required to provide information on his witness until after he received the expert witness' report. He said it's critical to have his witness because "the instances of inaccurate, false convictions in these types of cases are huge."
Johnson said he thinks the last thing anybody wants is an "unjust" conviction and he needs the time to prepare a proper defense.
"My client deserves a right to a fair trial, your honor, not a rushed trial, not a hurried trial," Johnson said.
He also said he has told the court and Miller all along about the scheduling restrictions.
Judge VanderSchoor said he understood Miller's frustration with the delay but acknowledged he has to give both sides a fair trial.
Jacobsen, 27, is accused of causing a fatal head injury to Ryder Morrison while watching him at his Richland home. He died June 22, the day after his first birthday.
Jacobsen was charged in October in Benton County Superior Court with first-degree manslaughter. The charges include aggravating circumstances that the victim was particularly vulnerable and incapable of resistance and that his death had a destructive and foreseeable impact on others.
Both sides will be back in court July 11 for a status update.