Parents feel defendant has unfair advantage in case about child’s death

Published: Jul. 27, 2020 at 6:18 PM EDT
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WHITLEY COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - These are trying times for a Kosciusko County couple seeking justice for the death of an 11-month-old daughter.

A trial that began today in Whitley County will decide if a daycare operator was responsible for the child’s traumatic brain injury.

It’s not the “day in court” that the couple had hoped for.

Because of COVID-19, they’re not allowed to physically be in the court room except to testify.

They’ll have to watch the rest of the proceedings on closed circuit TV.

“We are not allowed in the courtroom because of the pandemic and the social distancing. The Supreme Court order said that we could not be in there in order to give the jury and all of the Court staff room to social distance,”said Sherry Leeman, mother of baby Emma Grace, who died in April of 2018.

Today the defense argued that the battery and neglect trial of daycare operator Courtney Kincaid should be continued based on the governor’s mask mandate. The continuance request was denied.

“If you are speaking you may remove your mask. The jury will have to wear it, but they’ve been questioning the jury the whole time and nobody has a problem with doing that for eight or nine hours a day,” said Sherry Leeman.

So the trial goes on, although Leeman feels her being kept out out of the courtroom could give the defense an unfair advantage.

“We’re unclear right now if she’s going to testify or not but should she choose to I think she’s getting an unfair advantage not having to look at the parents and family sitting out in the gallery as she speaks,” she said.

The Leemans are looking for Kincaid to accept responsibility for causing Emma Grace’s death so they can concentrate on being organ donor advocates, and the lives Emma Grace forever changed.

“Last November we were able to go and visit the recipients. In North Carolina is little Deacon and he’s three years old now and he has her liver, and then we went over to Delaware and we met her heart recipient,” Leeman said.

The trial is scheduled to run through Friday.

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