Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Trial continues for dad charged in death of 2-month-old son (Sioux City, Iowa)

Dad is identified as MICHAEL WILLIAMS.


Trial for Sioux City father charged in baby's death continued

6 hours ago • NICK HYTREK SIOUX CITY |

A Sioux City man charged in connection with his son's death has had a falling out with his attorney and will not go to trial next week.

Michael Williams said in a letter to the court he no longer trusted Matt Pittenger, his court-appointed attorney, because Pittenger did not have his best interests in mind and doesn't believe Williams is innocent.

Williams asked Pittenger to withdraw. At a Monday hearing, Pittenger told District Judge Jeffrey Neary that the attorney-client relationship with Williams had broken down.

Neary approved Williams' request and continued the July 7 trial date.

A new trial date will be set once Williams has a new attorney.

Williams told Neary his family is attempting to hire a private attorney to represent him.

Williams, 27, is charged in Woodbury County District Court with three counts of neglect of a dependent person and single counts of child endangerment resulting in the death of a child and child endangerment resulting in bodily injury of a child.

Williams had taken his dead 2-month-old son, Leonard Williams, to a hospital emergency room on April 29, 2014. An autopsy showed that the infant died of malnutrition and dehydration.

Woodbury County Attorney Patrick Jennings said at Monday's hearing that the continuation was warranted, but he did not want to see the case continue to drag out. Charges were filed in May 2014 and additional charges were filed in November.

The trial has been continued twice before, and Williams has twice been on the verge of agreeing to plead guilty, only to reject a plea offer.

"We can't continue to do this," Jennings said.

According to court documents, Williams told police he left the baby unsupervised for long periods of time in the apartment he shared with Leonard's mother, Rebekah Williams-McCarthy, in the 2800 block of West Fourth Street.

Williams-McCarthy faces the same charges as Williams. Her trial is set for Aug. 4.