A western Iowa jury has been unable to agree on a verdict and a judge has declared a mistrial in the murder case against a Cass County child care operator accused in the death of an infant.

The baby boy, who died in October of 2019, was one of 11 children Alison Dorsey was caring for in Massena on the morning the child stopped breathing. Dorsey’s attorney, DeShawne Bird-Sell, expects prosecutors to seek another trial.

“Disappointed that we couldn’t get a ‘not guilty,’ and disappointed that we have to do it all again,” she said.

If there is a second trial, Bird-Sell says she will represent Dorsey again. “Absolutely if that’s what we have to do, that’s what we have to do,” Bird-Sell said. “I believe in my client.”

The announcement of the mistrial was made this afternoon in a hallway outside the courtroom where the six-day-long trial had been held and many of those who’d been waiting for a verdict burst into tears.

Dorsey testified 11-week-old Luka Hodges was gasping for air about three hours after the baby’s father dropped the child off, so she called the boy’s father. When the father walked into the home, the baby, which was being held by Dorsey, went limp. She immediately handed him to the father. The baby’s father and an off duty sheriff’s deputy who was nearby performed CPR and the infant was taken to a hospital in Atlantic, then transferred to a hospital in Omaha, where the boy died.

Shaken Baby Syndrome was initially identified as the cause of death, but the Iowa Medical Examiner’s report was inconclusive. Dorsey was charged with child endangerment and first degree murder.

(By Ric Hanson, KJAN, Atlantic)