Calusinski confession motion goes to judge for ruling

A Lake County judge said Thursday he will rule “On some future court date,” if Melissa Calusinski’s multiple confessions in the death of a toddler at a former Lincolnshire day care center can be used against her.

Circuit Judge Daniel Shanes said he had a considerable amount of testimony in the motion to review before ruling, and also said he wanted to read the case law both sides submitted before their arguments.

Calusinski, 24, of Carpentersville, is charged with first-degree murder in the Jan. 14, 2009 death of 16-month-old Benjamin Kingan of Deerfield.

Police say Calusinski, a teacher’s aide at the since-shuttered Minee Subee in the Park day care, threw Benjamin to the floor and caused a massive skull fracture.

She is shown on videotape saying she did so twice — once to a pair of detectives from the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force and again to a Lincolnshire detective booking her as a prisoner.

In addition, the Lincolnshire detective testified Calusinski admitted killing the boy during a phone conversation with her father that was not recorded.

Defense attorney Paul DeLuca argued the detectives took advantage of his client’s low intelligence and fear to coerce the confessions.

DeLuca said the task force detectives, who questioned Calusinski over a 10-hour period, suggested various scenarios of the boy’s death that allowed Calusinski to minimize her involvement.

“In essence, they were saying ‘If you tell us that you threw him down hard, it will be better for you,” DeLuca said. “They are suggesting scenarios left and right.”

But Assistant State’s Attorney Stephen Scheller argued the defense team was overstating Calusinski’s vulnerability during the questioning.

Scheller said Calusinski is shown on the videotape being told she does not have to answer any questions, and that there were “significant breaks” in the questioning over the 10-hour period.

“We have a 22-year-old female, not a juvenile in need of special protection, who went to Barrington High School for four years and earned a diploma,” Scheller said. “She is not some timid person sitting in the corner letting the police run roughshod over her.”

Calusinski, who is held on $5 million bond, is scheduled to appear in court Sept. 5.

She faces up to life in prison if convicted after a trial, currently scheduled to begin Oct. 31.

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