The trial of a Cass County woman, accused of falsely claiming her daughter had cancer, will be moved out of Cass County. District Court Judge Mark Eveloff has ruled extensive media coverage of the case of 30-year-old Leatha Slauson would make it difficult to give the Atlantic woman a fair and impartial trial in Cass County.
“The court is going to grant the defendant’s motion for a change of venue,” Eveloff announced today. Slauson’s trial is now set to begin on November 18 in Mills County District Court.
Authorities said Slauson lied about her five-year-old daughter having cancer in order to solicit thousands of dollars in donations. Slauson’s Attorney, Jay Mez, requested his client’s trial be moved — arguing there would be a limited jury pool resulting from the extensive media coverage. “Probably the largest issue is the allegations are that the community was the victim in this case,” Mez said. Mez has stated he intends to use a defense of “Diminished Responsibility” when Slauson’s case goes before a jury.
Mez said Slauson is competent to stand trial, but unable to tell right from wrong. Authorities said, in addition to lying about the cancer, Slauson inserted a feeding tube into the 5-year-old girl and gave her drugs and cannabis oils. Slauson has pleaded not guilty to 20 counts, including assault, child endangerment and theft by deception.
(Reporting by Ric Hansen, KJAN, Atlantic)