There’s Been a Mistrial in the Kelsie Thomas Murder Case

Jurors were hung in the main allegation against Kelsie Thomas, 24. They couldn’t agree on whether she murdered daughter Cloe Chandler, 5, though they acquitted the defendant of a lesser charge. The judge declared a mistrial.

Thomas strangled the victim to death on July 19, 2018 by using pajama pants, the prosecution argued. The defendant had given birth to the victim at age 16, and the relationship grew distant as the child got older, according to the state. Cloe began to display a similar attitude as her father, who had cheated on the defendant, said prosecutor Reuben Neff at opening statements. Also, Thomas spent less time with the victim after giving birth to a child with another man, her husband.

The defendant tried to pass off Cloe’s death as an accidental self-hanging, but she eventually confessed to law enforcement and her husband in a jailhouse phone call, Neff said.

Defense lawyer Allen Cook told jurors that it’s not justice if they presume guilt. He said that false confessions are real. An expert witness said that Thomas’s confession could have been false. The defense also asserted that the false confession fed into the medical examiner determining that the death was a strangulation. They brought up an independent forensic pathologist who said that Cloe’s death was consistent with a hanging. The only issue from the defense’s point of view was that Thomas couldn’t explain how she got her daughter down from hanging.

[Mugshot of Thomas via Wapello County Jail]

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