Public defender appointed for Lake County dad charged in son's death

  • David Stroud

    David Stroud

  • Jason Stroud

    Jason Stroud

  • Jennifer Stroud

    Jennifer Stroud

Updated 5/2/2017 4:59 PM

A Park City man facing allegations that his failure to give his son medication led to the 11-year-old boy's death last year was appointed a public defender Tuesday after his private attorney was forced to step down.

Defense lawyer LaTonya Burton, who had been working on the case since January, said in court Tuesday that David Stroud was unable to pay her as a private attorney. She offered to continue representing him as a county-funded special public defender, but Judge Daniel Shanes instead appointed the Lake County Public Defender's office to the case.


Attorneys did not discuss in court Tuesday what the change could mean for the case of Stroud, 41, and his wife, Jennifer Stroud, 36. The Park City couple each face felony charges of manslaughter and endangerment of a child accusing them of failing to give their son, Jason, medicine he needed after a heart transplant.

The boy was a sixth grader at Woodland Middle School in Gurnee when he died Sept. 11, authorities said.

Both parents have pleaded not guilty to the charges, the most serious of which could land each up to 14 years in prison if found guilty.

Authorities say Jason received a heart transplant when he was 7 years old at a children's hospital in Milwaukee. In June 2015, the family moved to Illinois and switched hospitals, authorities said.

Jason was expected to make regular visits to Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago and take medication daily to prevent his body from rejecting the heart, authorities said. However, after Jason missed several hospital appointments between December 2015 and August 2016, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services was contacted to check on his well-being, authorities said.

Prosecutors said Jason's body rejected the donor heart because he was not receiving his daily medication.

Jennifer Stroud is free from the Lake County jail after posting 10 percent of her $75,000 bail. David Stroud remains in jail on the same bail amount. The two are due back in court May 10.

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