BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - Attorneys for an Oviedo woman accused of strangling her 18-month-old were in court to keep the opinions of some of the investigators in the case out of the courtroom.
The officers dismissed the mom's claims that her then 2-year-old son was the one who wrapped Halloween lights around his sister's neck.
The attorneys in the case reached a resolution before they even arrived in court.
Prosecutors and the defense agreed that officers were not able to provide expert testimony as to whether the defendant's toddler was capable of what she alleges happened.
But there are still a number of motions to be heard ahead of the trial.
Kristen DePasquale and her attorneys were in a Brevard County courtroom to ensure some previous statements made by investigators in her Oviedo murder case are never heard by a jury.
Because DePasquale is the daughter of a Seminole County deputy, her case was moved out of Seminole County.
“Oviedo officers Chris George and Kim Mojica had previously given an opinion in this matter that they did not believe a 3-year-old child would be capable of committing a strangulation,” said defense attorney Jeffrey Dowdy.
Prosecutors didn't disagree that investigators would not be expert witnesses on that point, but other observations could come into their testimony.
In Nov. 2016, DePasquale told Oviedo police that she was taking a shower in her Covington Street home and left her 1-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son alone in the living room.
Later, she said she heard her son upset and apologizing for hurting his sister.
She said she returned to the living room to find her daughter, Mia, entangled in Halloween lights.
Investigators said there were inconsistencies in the DePasquale's story.
The court is yet to determine if her toddler is competent to testify at her trial
“I think if he's deemed not competent, that affects all statements attributable to him,” said the assistant state attorney.
In the meantime, defense attorneys have filed a motion to suppress statements made by DePasquale to a Department of Children and Families representative and state witness.
That suppression hearing has not been set.
Prosecutors are preparing for a July trial.
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