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updated: 11/2/2011 12:07 PM

Lincolnshire daycare center death trial should begin today

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  • Melissa Calusinski

      Melissa Calusinski

 
 

Opening statements are expected Wednesday in the trial of a Carpentersville woman accused of killing a toddler at a Lincolnshire day care center.

Melissa Calusinski, 25, faces up to life in prison if convicted of the Jan. 14, 2009, murder of 16-month-old Benjamin Kingan at the Minee Subee in the Park center where Calusinski worked as a teacher's aide.

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An autopsy said that Benjamin, of Deerfield, suffered a fractured skull inflicted with a force equal to a fall from a one- to two-story building.

Detectives from the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force questioned Calusinski for 10 hours two days after the crime and say she admitted throwing Benjamin to the ground when she became upset with other children in the room where she was working.

In addition, police say Calusinski volunteered the same story to another police officer after she had been informed she was being charged with Benjamin's murder.

Both sessions with police were captured on audio and videotape and large portions, if not all of those recordings, are expected to be played during the trial.

Defense attorneys claim they have a physician who will testify that Benjamin died when he aggravated a pre-existing condition by repeatedly pounding his own head on the floor.

They also claim that police exploited Calusinski's low IQ and convinced her to confess to a crime she did not commit.

By the end of business Tuesday, seven women and four men had been chosen for the jury and the remaining members were expected to be chosen Wednesday morning.

The jurors were informed that the trial could last three weeks.

Calusinski is being held in the Lake County jail on $5 million bail.

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