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Michelle Lodzinski’s Belief in ’91 Killing a 5-Year-Old Son – NBC10 Philadelphia

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The New Jersey Supreme Court on Tuesday sentenced a Florida woman to 2016 for killing her 5-year-old son 25 years earlier, ruling that despite the jury’s verdict, prosecutors The officer did not present enough evidence to prove that she had intentionally caused the boy’s death. .

It’s a startling twist in one of New Jersey’s most notorious cold cases, which has remained unsolved for years even though Michelle Lodzinski has been named the prime suspect after her death give various accounts of what happened the day Timothy Wiltsey was last seen.

It also means that Lodzinski cannot be tried again, which would violate the so-called “double danger” prohibition or be tried twice on the same matter, her attorney Gerald Krovatin said.

“This is a great day for the rule of law and believes that convictions should be based on evidence, not on speculation or emotion,” he said. “Michelle is incredibly grateful to everyone who has stood by her side throughout this long ordeal.”

Appeals Judge Jose Fuentes – called to the Supreme Court to serve as a conciliatory vote after the judges split 3-3 while upholding Lodzinski’s conviction in May – voted decided in favor of an acquittal on Tuesday.

“After considering all the evidence and after providing the state with the benefit of all favorable testimony and all favorable inferences drawn from that testimony, no reasonable jury can could discover beyond a reasonable doubt that Lodzinski knowingly or intentionally caused Timothy’s death,” the court wrote in its majority decision.

The prosecutor’s office that tried her declined to comment.

Lodzinski was a single mother in central New Jersey in May 1991 when she told investigators that Wiltsey had disappeared while they were attending a costume carnival in Sayreville. She later came up with conflicting accounts describing strangers she had seen who may have kidnapped the boy. Wiltsey’s body was found nearly a year later, in a marshy area near the office complex where Lodzinski used to work.

As time passed and no charges were brought, Lodzinski continued his life and had two other children. She is living in Port St. Lucie, Florida, in 2014 when authorities in New Jersey charged her with murdering Wiltsey. Investigators said the case broke when Wiltsey’s former nannies identified a blue blanket, found with the boy’s body, as Lodzinski’s.

During her 2016 trial and on appeal, Lodzinski’s attorneys argued that there was no forensic evidence tying her to a blanket and that prosecutors did not present enough evidence that Lodzinski intentionally caused the murder. die for the boy. The cause of death was not determined as Wiltsey’s body deteriorated between the time he died and the time his body was found.

“If you cannot find a cause of death, I assert that you are not guilty of murder by definition,” Krovatin told the court during arguments in October.

Prosecutors, who portrayed Lodzinski at the trial as a struggling young mother and felt burdened by the boy, argued on appeal that the total amount of evidence, including responses Her evasiveness during the initial interrogation was sufficient to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. An appeals court agreed in 2019 when it upheld Lodzinski’s conviction.

The plot thickened after the state Supreme Court’s decision in May upheld the appeals court’s decision. With Chief Justice Stuart Rabner not participating, the court split the score 3-3, but it was enough to make the verdict undisturbed.

Writing to three dissidents at the time, Justice Barry Albin wrote, “In the modern annals of New Jersey legal history, to the best of my knowledge, there are no murder convictions. proved based on the scarcity of such evidence.”

In a dissenting opinion as part of Tuesday’s ruling, the three judges who voted to convict said, “In our view, the majority does the opposite of what our law requires. bridge.”

In October, the state’s Supreme Court took the rare step of agreeing to reheat the case, admitting it had made a procedural error in ruling on an appeals court decision. applied an incorrect legal standard. For the hearing, the court added an appellate judge to serve as a tie vote.

“Even if the evidence shows that Timothy did not die by accident, no testimony or evidence has been presented to distinguish whether Timothy died as a result of a person’s negligent, reckless, or intentional act or foreknowledge. , even if that person is Lodzinski,” the majority decided to read.

https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/womans-conviction-in-91-killing-of-5-year-old-son-tossed/3090558/ Michelle Lodzinski’s Belief in ’91 Killing a 5-Year-Old Son – NBC10 Philadelphia

Aila Slisco

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