Daycare worker appeals murder conviction with surprising support - KMSP-TV

Daycare worker appeals murder conviction with surprising support

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A northwest suburban day care worker who is in prison for murdering a toddler is getting some support as she appeals her case.

Melissa Calusinski of Carpentersville is seeking to have her conviction thrown out, claiming her confession was coerced, and mistakes were made by the prosecution's medical experts. Documents filed recently as part of her appeal suggest that several high-profile medical experts believe her case deserves another look.

After her arrest, Melissa Calusinski confessed on videotape that she had thrown 16-month-old Benjamin Kingan to the floor at the Minee Subee Day care center in Lincolnshire.

A jury found her found guilty of murder and last year she was sentenced to 31 years in prison. Her parents have always insisted she's innocent.

"My daughter is not the type of daughter that they're saying she is," Calusinkski's father said.

Now, we've learned that Calusinski's efforts to have her conviction thrown out may be getting some support from Lake County Coroner Thomas Rudd.

In an appellate brief obtained by Fox 32 News, defense attorney Kathleen Zellner says the coroner has "concerns" about the findings of two pathologists whose testimony helped convict Caluzinski.

So, the coroner recently asked former Cook County Medical Examiner Nancy Jones to review the boy's death.

Dr. Jones concluded the toddler had "a prior head injury, and the presence of this old injury was missed during the initial postmortem examination.." by the two other pathologists.

A spokesman for the Lake County's coroner says he can't discuss the case because it's still on appeal.

Lake County state's attorney Michael Nerheim told FOX 32 that questions regarding prior injuries to the little boy were considered by the jury. "It's not new evidence," Nerheim said. "This is evidence that the jury heard and the jury discounted."

Nerheim also says there was nothing in the boy's behavior in the weeks before his death, pointing to any previous injury.

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