Park City mother accused of not giving son medical care will go to trial
A Park City woman accused of failing to give her son the lifesaving medical care he required after a heart transplant in 2012 will go to trial more than two years after the boy's death.
Lawyers said in court Tuesday they could not come to terms on a plea agreement for Jennifer Stroud, 38, pushing the case to trial.
Stroud officially faces felony charges of involuntary manslaughter and endangering the life of a child. Assistant Lake County State's Attorney Eric Kalata was looking for Stroud to plead guilty to the felony involuntary manslaughter count, but defense attorney Elliot Pinsel wanted the lesser felony charge of endangering the life of a child.
Conviction of involuntary manslaughter carries a prison sentence of up to 7 years, whereas the endangering charge comes with a maximum prison sentence of 5 years. Both charges are also probationable.
Stroud rejected the plea deal during a hearing in front of Lake County Judge Daniel Shanes. A trial date is expected to be set when the two sides return to court Oct. 4.
Jason Stroud was a sixth-grader at Woodland Middle School in Gurnee when he died Sept 11, 2016, four years after undergoing heart transplant surgery in Milwaukee.
The Strouds moved from Milwaukee to Park City in 2015 and were expected to take Jason to Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago for regular visits. The parents were also tasked with giving Jason daily medication to prevent his body from rejecting his new heart, authorities said.
When 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, authorities said. During the visit, Jason was taken to a hospital where doctors determined his body was rejecting the donor heart because he had not been taking the required medication, authorities said.
Jennifer Stroud and her husband, David Stroud, were charged with endangering the life of a child and involuntary manslaughter after a lengthy criminal investigation, authorities said.
Jennifer Stroud was released from the Lake County jail after posting 10 percent of her $75,000 bail, but David Stroud was held in jail on the same bail amount throughout the process.
David Stroud, 43, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in May, and was sentenced to 5 years in prison in exchange for giving truthful testimony should the case against Jennifer Stroud go to trial.
David and Jennifer Stroud were co-defendants at one point, but the case was severed after the couple filed for divorce in July 2017. During previous hearings, attorneys said the Strouds planned to blame each other should the case go to trial.