Calusinski hearing delayed to next week

  • Melissa Calusinski

    Melissa Calusinski

Updated 7/8/2016 7:21 PM

A hearing to determine whether a suburban woman convicted of murder should receive a new trial has been continued to next week by a Lake County judge.

Judge Daniel Shanes ordered lawyers back to court Tuesday with a detailed list of witnesses that both sides intend to call during a future evidentiary hearing for Melissa Calusinski, 29, of Carpentersville.


Calusinski was found guilty of murder in 2011 in the death of a 16-month-old Deerfield boy at a now-closed Lincolnshire day care.

The attorneys were asked to have that information in court Friday in order to establish how long the evidentiary hearing would take.

However, defense attorney Doug Johnson requested the delay in order to get the information.

Calusinski, who did not attend the court hearing, is serving a 31-year prison sentence after being found guilty of throwing Benjamin Kingan to the floor at the Minee Subee Day Care in the Park in Lincolnshire.

After an appellate court upheld the original guilty verdict, defense attorney Kathleen Zellner filed a 211-page new trial request in Lake County.

In the document, she said a second set of legible X-rays and proof the boy suffered a previous injury were never explored at Calusinski's trial.

Officials said Benjamin's head swelled like "an old fashioned light bulb" due to the chronic concussions he suffered, according to the court document, and not an acute injury as pathologists previously had stated.

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However, prosecutors filed a 37-page motion to dismiss the request, claiming the new X-ray evidence was actually old evidence defense attorneys had in their possession but never electronically enhanced before the trial.

Prosecutors also said the X-rays do not change the jury's finding that Calusinski threw the boy to the floor, which caused his death.

If her murder conviction is vacated, the state would need to give Calusinski a new trial. If Shanes rules against Calusinski, she would have the option to appeal the case to the state appellate court.

Attorneys said the evidentiary hearing could take one to three days.

The date of that hearing is expected to be decided Tuesday.

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