Former Daycare Worker Denied New Trial

A judge denied a new trial for a woman convicted of killing a toddler at a daycare center

By Allison Preston
|  Thursday, Mar 29, 2012  |  Updated 11:10 PM CDT
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Former Daycare Worker Denied New Trial

Melissa Calusinski

A woman convicted of killing a 16-month-old toddler last year was denied a new trial Thursday.

Melissa Calusinski, 25, was found guilty of killing Benjamin Kingan at Lincolnshire day care center in 2009 and sentenced to 31 years in prison last week. Her attorneys argued that a key witness had lied on the stand and asked for a new trial, but their argument was unsuccesful.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Calusinki's attorney, Paul DeLuca, had challenged the testimony of Dr. Manny Montez, who was consulted during Kingan's autopsy. The attorneys claimed that he lied when saying he had not sat for the exam, therefore denying Calusinksi her right to a fair trial.

Montez said he was not certified by the American Board of Pathology, and records indicate that Montez took the anatomic portion of the certification exam in September 2001, but did not pass it. He also did not take a forensic sub-specialty portion of the exam.

"He never claimed to be board-certified," said Assistant State's Attorney Christen Bishop. "He said, "I never sat for the test," singular. He didn't lie."

Lake County Coroner Artis Yancey said that he had no concern about Montez's competence after the hearing on Thursday, and Calusinski will still serve her 31-year sentence in prison.

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