The Iowa Supreme Court has overturned a central Iowa babysitter’s first-degree murder conviction and harshly criticized the prosector in the case. LeAnn Werts of Altoona was charged with the murder of a 21-month-old boy in her care. She told authorities the boy had choked on his lunch; doctors found no sign of choking but did find bruises on his body and brain injury. At her trial, a neighbor testified she had once seen LeAnn abuse the boy. The state’s high court has ruled that testimony should not have been admitted into evidence, and accused the prosecutor in the case of asking questions of Werts to “set up” a scenario under which the neighbor’s testimony could be introduced. The justices also “condemned” the prosector for “grossly improper” and “demeaning” questions of witnesses in the case. And the high court also took issue with a little play-acting the prosecutor did during his closing argument before the jury.
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