Journal & Courier

Charges dropped against Roman and Lynette Finnegan


November 3, 2007

FRANCESVILLLE — Charges were dropped Friday against a Pulaski County woman accused of contributing to the death of her 14-year-old daughter.

Jessica D. Salyer was found unresponsive in her Francesville home on Dec. 20, 2005. Jasper County Coroner Gordon Klockow ruled in July 2007 that she died from cardiac arrest resulting from a medication error.

Salyer’s mother, Lynnette S. Finnegan of Francesville, was charged in April with neglecting a dependent resulting in serious injury, a Class B felony, and neglecting a dependent, a Class D felony.

Those charges were later reduced to just the Class D felony. Friday, that charge was dismissed with prejudice by Special Judge Patrick Blankenship in Pulaski Circuit Court.

“The motion to dismiss explains that the medical opinions relayed to us and the witness statements that convinced us to file the (charges) in the first place were not supported by statements in deposition and the written medical information in the final autopsy report,” Pulaski County Prosecutor Stacey Mrak said Friday.

A charge of neglecting a dependent filed against Salyer’s stepfather, Roman J. Finnegan, also of Francesville, was dropped in late October.

Lynnette Finnegan said she was relieved that her daughter can finally rest but is still angered by the hardships the charges inflicted on her family.

“These people need to explain to me how they can do something like this to someone whose innocent with a daughter (born) with a heart defect,” she said.

The Jasper County Coroner’s Office handled Salyer’s autopsy because she was taken to Jasper County Hospital the day she died.
Although his final verdict was not issued until this summer, Klockow said Friday that he never saw any evidence to support the idea that Salyer was abused or neglected. He said he was surprised when the Pulaski County prosecutor’s office filed charges against the Finnegans earlier this year.

“When they said there was going to be a criminal prosecution in this case,” Klockow said, “I still had not received any evidence to that effect.”

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