The trial of a Perry woman who admitted to leaving her seven-month-old daughter in a hot minivan in June has wrapped up. 35-year-old Kari Engholm took the stand in her own defense and re-stated her earlier admission that she had a number of things going on at work and simply forgot her daughter Clare was in the van. Engholm’s attorney, Ron Wheeler questioned her about leaving the child in the van, asking her if she was aware that leaving the child in the vehicle was very dangerous. She said “Yes” and began sobbing.Engholm broke down as she talked about picking up her son and discovering that her daughter was still in the van. The judge called for a 15-minute recess to allow Engholm to regain her composure. The prosecution asked only one question on cross-examination, and both sides rested their cases.The question now before the Dallas County judge is if that act that ended in her daughter’s death was reckless. Dallas County Attorney Wayne Reisetter said in the prosecution’s closing statement that Engholm was reckless in putting her own thoughts about work ahead of thoughts of her child.Engholm’s attorney, Ron Wheeler, had earlier in the day called a psychiatrist to the stand who testified it is not unusual for such a thing to happen, although such mistakes usually don’t have such tragic results. *Wheeler told the judge in his closing arguments that the prosecution did not prove that Engholm consciously acted with reckless intent in the death of her daughter, and that she should not be found guilty of involuntary manslaughter or neglect of a dependent person. The judge will issue a written ruling on the case and said it could come within the next week.
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