Eudora daycare worker originally convicted of infant murder gets new trial – KION546

By Shain Bergan

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EUDORA, Kansas (KCTVName) – An Eudora daycare worker who was convicted of murdering a baby in her care in 2016 will get a new trial, after a split decision by the Kansas Supreme Court.

The Kansas high court split 3-3 on whether to uphold a Kansas Court of Appeals decision to overturn Carrody Buchhorn’s conviction and grant him a new trial. In the case of a split decision, the decision of the previous court is confirmed.

Buchhorn was convicted of second-degree murder by a Douglas County jury in 2018 after a 9-month-old baby boy died in her care. Buchhorn told authorities she put the baby down for a nap, then tried to give him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation when she was unable to wake him.

The educator was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The baby had a new bump on its head and a cracked skull. Medical Examiner Erik Mitchell had testified during the case that Buchhorn may have stomped on the child’s head, a theory prosecutors relied heavily on in their second-degree murder case. But other experts, like pediatric neurologist at Children’s Hospital Sudha Kessler, have questioned that conclusion. Kessler herself called the pathologist’s theory “fantastic” and “incoherent” in an article published by the Kansas City Star.

The child had a cracked skull, but may have already begun to heal from an unknown prior event. There was no evidence presented of brain injury or child abuse.

A Kansas appeals court found last year that Buchhorn’s defense team had not done enough to prevent Mitchell’s theories from coloring the proceedings, and it overturned Buchhorn’s conviction, granting him a new trial. Douglas County prosecutors appealed the decision, leading to the state Supreme Court hearing the case.

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Elna M. Lemons