Court bars statements by mom charged in son’s 1991 murder
A New Jersey appeals court has barred trial jurors from hearing statements made in an unrelated case by a woman charged with killing her 5-year-old son in 1991.
The ruling published Thursday also prevents prosecutors from presenting expert testimony by a forensic psychiatrist who is an expert on parents who kill their children.
Michelle Lodzinski is charged with murder in the disappearance of Timothy Wiltsey, whose remains were discovered in a marshy area of Edison in 1992. Lodzinski has claimed the boy was abducted from a carnival in Sayreville in May 1991.
Prosecutors want jurors to hear statements Lodzinski made to authorities in 1994 when she claimed she was abducted at knifepoint by two men posing as FBI agents. She later pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and was sentenced to probation.
The two-judge appeals court agreed with state Superior Court Judge Dennis Nieves' ruling last month excluding the statements.
"We defer to the court's assessment of the evidence's probative value weighed against the undue prejudice to defendant and potential distraction to and confusion of the jurors," the panel wrote.
The judges also upheld Nieves' order excluding testimony from forensic psychiatrist Phillip Resnick on similar grounds.
Lodzinski was living in Port St. Lucie, Florida, when she was arrested last year for killing Timothy. She has pleaded not guilty and is jailed on $2 million bond. Her trial, initially scheduled to begin next week, has been pushed back at least until late February.
Next week, the judge is scheduled to hear from a potential defense witness who allegedly heard an acquaintance confess to a crime similar to the Wiltsey killing.
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