The trial for a former nanny charged with causing the death of a Richland toddler has been postponed into 2018.
Jocelyn M. Bellon, 30, requested the delay Wednesday so her attorney, Scott Johnson, has more time to work with medical experts and prepare her defense.
Bellon is charged in Benton County Superior Court with first-degree manslaughter for the July 2016 death of David T. Schreiber.
Her trial was set for November, but now is to start March 19.
Johnson pointed out that it took prosecutors 11 months to charge Bellon while they investigated David’s death and contacted experts, so he shouldn’t be rushed on his own investigation.
“We’re not sitting on our hands with this,” Johnson told Judge Bruce Spanner. “We’re working the case. I hope we’re going to be ready by that date. We’re doing everything we can.”
Prosecutor Andy Miller said he and Deputy Prosecutor Emily Sullivan were ready to go on the earlier date, but agreed to the defense request because it is a complicated case.
David, 2, was under Bellon’s care when he started choking. He was rushed to the hospital and died the following day.
Doctors determined that David had a skull fracture caused by significant force and hemorrhages in both eyes, and that the injuries occurred within minutes or hours of when the ambulance arrived, according to court documents.
Bellon had been alone with the toddler and his 3-month-old brother for about 1 1/2 hours when she called their mother because the older boy was choking.
His mother, Jennifer Schreiber, then called 911.
Jennifer and Dan Schreiber both were at work at the time.
Bellon told investigators she had placed David in his booster seat to eat some food, then she got up from the table to care for the baby, documents said. She later said David fell out of his chair while she was cleaning up in his bedroom, and that she comforted him before turning her attention to his younger brother.
Her charge includes the aggravating factors of victim vulnerability and that the death had a destructive and foreseeable impact on others.