The trial of a Perry woman whose seven-month-old baby died in the family’s hot minivan in June will resume today.Dallas County Attorney Wayne Reisetter is trying to prove that 35-year old Kari Engholm acted recklessly by leaving her daughter in the hot van on that June day. But Reisetter’s two main witnesses, the Perry detective who investigated the case and Deputy State Medical Examiner Dennis Klein, called the baby’s death an accident. Klein described the difference between a homicide and an accident. He says they usually need to show intent to harm or gross negligence to qualify as a homicide.But Klein said he found no evidence of intent in this case. Engholm’s attorney, Ronald Wheeler, asked for dismissal of the case following Klein’s testimony, saying there was a total lacking of a “guilty mind” presented in evidence by the state. He says that evidence shows this was nothing but a tragic accident.The judge said he would take the request under advisement. The defense testimony then proceeded. Engholm’s husband Dennis was questioned by Wheeler. In a choked voice, he said he was not aware of anything at all that would’ve caused his wife to harm their daughter.Dennis Engholm also described the weeks following their daughter’s death. He says he’d never seen so much despair in his life. He says his wife couldn’t eat and was barely functioning.Engholm’s sister Diane Van Wyngarden also gave some emotional testimony. She read a poem that her sister wrote in October. Kari Engholm had tears in her eyes as she entered the courtroom, and looked down at the table in front of her during most of the testimony. She held hands and hugged her husband during breaks in the testimony. The trial will resume this morning at 9 o’clock in the Dallas County Courthouse in Adel.
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