The case surrounding the death of four-month-old Cyrus Macioroski at Mama Shell’s Daycare in May 2018 is delayed due to discovery issues.
Debra Jones and Donna Pilcher, two of the three women charged after the infant’s death, are scheduled to reappear in Hood River County Circuit Court at 9:30 a.m. on April 29.
Jones and Pilcher’s attorneys appeared before Judge John Olson on March 4 to update the court on the status of the case. Pilcher’s attorney, Daniel Baumchen, said that the defense is struggling to obtain autopsy photos and microscopic slides from the medical examiner and did not want to proceed with filing pre-trial motions before the defense has had the chance to thoroughly examine that evidence. He said that the defense intends to file pre-trial motions related to scientific and suppression issues.
Deputy District Attorney Carrie Rasmussen said that she has kept both attorneys updated on the status of the autopsy photos and said that the normal 16-week process was expedited for this case. Regarding the slides, she said, “I encourage both the attorneys to do due diligence,” and added that the state is not a “gatekeeper” to that evidence.
Baumchen said that they expect to receive the autopsy photos within the next week or so and asked to schedule a mid-April hearing to file pre-trial motions before the April 29 hearing.
“Hopefully then we’ll have better information and a better timeline,” he said. “I’d like to move forward on a resolution of these issues and keep this case moving forward.”
Due to scheduling conflicts, the request wasn’t granted, and any pre-trial action will have to take place at the April 29 hearing.
Olson stated for the record that he has not been formally assigned this case and that he did not know who would try the case if it does go to trial. Rasmussen added that new plea deals had recently been sent out to both defendants.
Jones and Pilcher both pled not-guilty to charges of second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, first-degree criminal mistreatment — all felonies — and five misdemeanor counts of operating an unlicensed childcare agency.
They were both released on pretrial bail in late December on the condition that they do not seek work in the childcare industry, have no unsupervised contact with children, and refrain from contact with the victim’s family until their cases are closed.
The third defendant in this case, Rochelle Jones, was indicted on the same charges but accepted a plea deal in early January.
She pled guilty to two charges, criminally negligent homicide and operating a childcare facility without authorization, and will serve five years of probation, pay a $1,000 fine and complete 80-hours of community service — in addition to testifying at Pilcher and Debra Jones’ trial. She is also barred from seeking work in the childcare industry and from contacting the victim’s family.