LIMA – Less than a week before the trial began in the case of Vicki Shellabarger, who was charged with the murder of her young daughter’s death in 2018, attorneys argued over a handful of motions at the 11th hour on Wednesday.
Shellabarger, 38, is charged with murder, an unclassified crime. involuntary killing, a crime of the first degree; children at risk, a second degree crime; and a third-degree crime that put children at risk in connection with the death of their 22-month-old daughter Madilynn Shellabarger.
The child was found unresponsive in a Delphos apartment on April 29, 2018 and died later that day in a hospital in Lima of complications from a violent blunt trauma.
On March 19, defense attorney Steve Chamberlain filed a motion to dismiss Shellabarger “or other relief for violating the defendant’s procedural rights” after prosecutors released some vital information less than 14 days before the trial.
Three days earlier, the state had filed a motion for the exclusion of evidence related to previous civil claims against a person the prosecution plans to use as an expert in Shellabarger’s trial.
“This filing is the first and only document or notice the state of Ohio has ever made available to the defendant regarding a possible impeachment information for the state expert,” Chamberlain wrote in his reply.
Chamberlain said in court on Wednesday that the late disclosure left him little time to get his own expert on the case. “When the time is right, I’ll be moving to a mistrial for an appeal,” he told Judge Jeffrey Reed.
In his application, the defense counsel requested that the proceedings against Shellabarger be dismissed or that the proceedings be granted to continue. Reed denied the motions and upheld a motion that would prohibit the defense from providing the jury with information about civil claims filed against the state expert.
A defense motion that prevented prosecutors from showing jury autopsy photos of the young victim was also overridden. Chamberlain had argued in his motion that displaying “these gruesome photos” to the jury would jeopardize his client’s rights to due process, fair trial and “the right to be free from arbitrary, cruel and unusual punishment”.
Shellabarger quickly looked away when Prosecutor Jurgen Waldick Chamberlain presented 13 photos of Madilynn Shellabarger, which were captured by the medical examiner and shown to the jury. The defendant saw tears streaking from her eyes shortly afterwards.
Shellabarger appeared shortly before the Common Pleas Court in Allen County on March 15 when she formally declined an offer from the prosecutor to enter into an objection agreement. The details of the objection were not included in the official record.
A trial of Vicki Shellabarger, who is charged with the murder of her young daughter in 2018, will commence in Allen County’s Common Pleas Court next Tuesday.
Vicki Shellabarger, pictured with defense attorney Steve Chamberlain, appeared briefly in court on Wednesday as attorneys argued over last-minute claims ahead of the start of the trial next week.