Parents seek to sever cases in Park City child manslaughter case
A Park City couple charged with manslaughter after being accused of not giving their son medication needed to fend off his body's rejection of a new heart have asked a Lake County judge to grant separate trials.
Attorneys for David Stroud, 41, and Jennifer Stroud, 36, have asked Judge Daniel Shanes to sever the case and try each separately.
Defense attorney Elliot Pinsel, who represents Jennifer Stroud, said Friday he will file a written motion in the coming weeks. Public defender Sharmila Manak, who represents David Stroud, said in court Wednesday she has filed such paperwork.
The request comes after the Strouds filed for divorce in July, court records show.
Should Shanes grant the requests during a Jan. 18 hearing, it could result in the two cases going to trial at the same time employing a rare double jury, attorneys said.
Pinsel said after court the double jury could prove helpful in this case due to the voluminous amount of medical information that would need to be presented at trial. Lawyers would be able to present the medical information to the separate juries at the same time but allow the individual juries assigned to each defendant in the courtroom when hearing testimony on individual cases.
The Strouds have pleaded not guilty to felony charges of manslaughter and child endangerment stemming from the Sept. 11, 2016, death of their son, Jason. They each face up to 14 years in prison if found guilty at trial.
Jason was a sixth-grader at Woodland Middle School in Gurnee when he died, four years after undergoing heart transplant surgery in Milwaukee in 2012.
In June 2015, the Strouds moved to Illinois and were supposed to take Jason to Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago for regular visits. They also were required to give Jason daily medication to prevent his body from rejecting the new heart, authorities said.
After Jason missed several hospital appointments between December 2015 and August 2016, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services performed a well-being check on the family. Jason was taken to the hospital, where doctors discovered his body was rejecting the donor heart because he had not been taking his required medication, authorities said.
His parents were charged after a criminal investigation into the child's death.
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.