Dad MITCHELL DELASHMITT was charged with the rape and murder of his 14-month-old daughter back in 2003. But his trial has been delayed and delayed. First, Daddy's statement to the police, the one that lead to the charges, was thrown out because of the alleged lack of legal representation. Then the medical examiner in the case develops some drug problems, which further complicated things enormously. Ad nauseum, ad nauseum.
End result: Daddy has been free on bond since 2007, a bond that had been reduced from $100,000 to only $15,000.
This outrage inspired a protest in Athens, Tennessee at the time, with the mother of the slain child participating. And it IS an outrage that Daddy is basically dodging accountability for his actions, with the full support of the legal system.
Father's rape-slaying trial delayed until May
By BILL POOVEY
The Associated Press
February 1, 2010
ATHENS — A judge postponed the trial of an East Tennessee father charged in the 2003 rape and slaying of his 14-month-old daughter so the former medical examiner who did the child’s autopsy can first go to court to face a drug charge in a different case.
Mitchell Delashmitt’s rape and homicide trial in McMinn County will not be held before May 11 and might be delayed longer, Circuit Judge Carroll Ross said at a hearing Monday. Jury selection had been set to start Tuesday.
Delashmitt was arrested in June 2003 after the body of his daughter, Angel, was found in a pond at his home about 45 miles northeast of Chattanooga. Delashmitt originally told officers she wandered away when he fell asleep while baby sitting. He later gave another statement that led to the charges.
In 2007, the judge threw out Delashmitt’s statement to investigators, saying his request for legal counsel was ignored. He has since been free on bond and declined comment Monday after listening to the courtroom discussion between his lawyer, John Eldridge of Knoxville, and Assistant District Attorney James Stutts.
Eldridge said during the brief hearing that it ‘‘seems unfair’’ to Delashmitt to delay the trial, which was previously postponed to accommodate a defense request. Eldridge declined to comment outside the courtroom.
The former medical examiner, Dr. Ronald Toolsie, 50, goes to court Wednesday in Chattanooga, charged with unlawfully distributing a controlled substance and fraudulently obtaining a prescription drug. Stutts said in a motion filed Monday that Toolsie’s attorney told him that because of the pending charges Toolsie would invoke his right against self-incrimination if called to testify at Delashmitt’s trial.
Toolsie was indicted Oct. 28 on charges of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance, failure to keep required records of controlled substances and obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.
Toolsie’s attorney, Charles Currier of Knoxville, could not be reached by telephone Monday for comment.
Toolsie’s medical license was suspended earlier this year and his autopsy report that shows the child was killed by shaken baby syndrome has been questioned.
Ross asked Stutts to report on Toolsie’s status at an April 19 hearing in Monroe County.
A state appeals court agreed that Delashmitt’s statement might have been coerced because investigators continued to question him after he asked for an attorney.
The case provoked a sign-waving protest in Athens in 2007 when Delashmitt’s bond was reduced from $100,000 to $15,000 and he was released after four years in custody. The girl’s mother, Rebecca Green, was among those protesting.
Green couldn’t be reached for comment Monday about the trial delay.