Charges Dropped Against Babysitters in Baby's Death
Jan 31, 2007 07:17 PM
By Jerry Burke
Without warning Tuesday morning, the Winnebago County, Wisconsin district attorney's office dropped first-degree reckless homicide charges against a Town of Menasha couple.
Ryan Page, 25, and Jamie Page, 27, ran a day care out of their home. They were taking care of Fischer Weigelt in May 2004 when they say he rolled off a couch and on to a carpeted floor. But at a coroners inquest nearly two years ago, medical personnel said the infant's injuries were consistent with shaken baby syndrome.
In less than a month, the Pages were due to go on trial as party to a murder. But at a motions hearing the D.A.'s office dropped a bombshell when it recommended the charges be dropped.
State law says prosecutors must be able to describe each person's role in the death -- and prosecutors admit they can't do that right now.
The request devastated the infant's parents.
"We put all of our faith in the justice system, and the justice system has failed us," Heather Weigelt, the baby's mother, reacted.
"With the way the laws are, we can't try both of them, we have to prove to a jury one of them did it without a reasonable doubt," Kyle Weigelt said. And the district attorney can't do that, "not with the information they have right now."
The judge clearly wasn't happy about dropping the charges but said he had no choice but to go along with the recommendation.
Because the prosecution dropped the charges without prejudice, prosecutors said they still have the option to file new charges if new evidence shows who caused the death and how.
The Pages, on the advice of their attorneys, are making no comment at this time.
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