A babysitter who’s sitting in prison has gotten a reprieve from the state Court of Appeals. LeAnn Werts of Altoona was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison for killing a two-year-old boy who was in her care. Werts says Benjamin Vonwert choked on some food and quit breathing on November 16, 2000. The baby was declared brain dead the next day. The judges on the Iowa Court of Appeals ruled that a lower court should not have admitted testimony in Werts’s trial and the judges also said her attorney should have objected to jury instructions that mentioned “shaken-baby” syndrome. State prosecutors were also reprimanded for putting a medical expert on the stand at the last minute, a witness the defense hadn’t been told would testify at the trial. The Court of Appeals has ordered a new trial for Werts on the charges.
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