Jury deliberations still underway in Eudora day care murder trial
photo by: Mike Yoder
Story updated: 5:10 p.m. Wednesday, July 25, 2018.
Ten hours into deliberations, jurors still had not reached a verdict Wednesday afternoon in the case of a woman charged with murdering a baby she was caring for at a Eudora home day care.
The trial of Carrody M. Buchhorn, 44, of Eudora, began July 16 in Douglas County District Court.
After attorneys delivered closing arguments, jurors began deliberations about 3 p.m. Tuesday, going home for the night and returning Wednesday morning. They went home again at 5 p.m. Wednesday, with plans to reconvene again Thursday morning.
Jurors did temporarily return to the courtroom Wednesday afternoon to have part of the trial testimony read back to them.
Judge Sally Pokorny said jurors had requested to hear the testimony of day care owner Gina Brunton again, and the court reporter began reading aloud a transcript of Brunton’s testimony shortly before 3 p.m.
Brunton testified on July 18, including discussing Buchhorn’s role at the day care, the events of the day 9-month-old Oliver Ortiz died and when she last saw him alive.
Thursday morning, the court reporter was to finish reading back Brunton’s testimony and then read back testimony of coroner Erik Mitchell, which the jury also requested be repeated to them, Pokorny said at the end of the day Wednesday.
Oliver became unresponsive the afternoon of Sept. 29, 2016, at Sunshine Kids Group Daycare Home, 1307 Chestnut Lane in Eudora. He was never revived.
In April 2017, Buchhorn was charged with first-degree murder. She has been on house arrest pending trial.
The courtroom was full throughout the trial, with about 50 relatives and supporters of either Oliver or Buchhorn watching. Most remained gathered in different areas of the courthouse throughout the day Wednesday, awaiting the jury’s decision.
The coroner ruled Oliver’s death a homicide caused by blunt force trauma to the head. He testified that Oliver had a fractured skull caused by an incident forceful enough — not a drop, fall or the actions of another child — to render him unresponsive right away and, without intervention, dead within minutes.
Prosecutors said Buchhorn was the only adult with Oliver in that window of time.
Buchhorn’s defense disputed the cause and timing of Oliver’s death, citing testimony by a forensic pathologist they hired to review the local autopsy findings. They argued that Oliver’s fatal head injury could have been up to a week old.