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Steven Otto Schimmel, the infant who died on March 2, 2009
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Jayson Schimmel, 33 who is being held for homicide in the baby’s death.
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Beth Hill, 19 (second from left) with friends at infant Steven’s memorial in 2009.
By Patric Hedlund
A writ of appeal was filed Monday, July 26 by Ventura County Public Defender Rod Kodman seeking to have the grand jury indictment of Jayson Schimmel, 33 set aside.
Schimmel, of Lockwood Valley, has been indicted for homicide in the death of his ten-week-old-son. A jury trial has been set for September 23, 2010.
Schimmel was arrested in Frazier Park at Dunn Right Auto Repair on Mt. Pinos Way in the afternoon of March 5, 2009 “for the murder of his biological son.” The child died on March 2, 2009 and had marks consistent, sheriffs said, with “battered child syndrome.”
Kodman was named the Criminal Defense Attorney of the Year for 2009 in Ventura County. He is aggressively pursuing Schimmel’s defense.
Defense attorneys are not allowed to be part of a closed grand jury proceeding such as that which handed down the indictment, so “the prosecutor has a duty to present the exculpatory information,” Kodman said in an interview on Friday, July 23. He claims in his appeal that such evidence was not submitted to the grand jury by the prosecutor as required by the law.
Kodman says that Schimmel recanted his confession to killing his own son, but that the prosecutor did not inform the grand jury of that fact. He also said that information accusing mother Elizabeth Hill, 19 of being responsible for the child’s injuries was not adequately presented.
On Monday, July 26 Kodman told Alex Wilson, who was reporting for The Mountain Enterprise, that this appeal “might go all the way up to the State Supreme Court.”
Last week rumors were reportedly circulating through Frazier Park that Schimmel might have arranged a plea bargain for a 9-year sentence. The Mountain Enterprise asked Kodman to comment.
“I’ve never heard anything like that at all,” the defense attorney said. “If prosecutors are talking with prospective witnesses, they may have said something to one of the Lockwood Valley man’s acquaintances that sparked the rumor,” he speculated.
Schimmel is in custody in Ventura County Jail. He has been held there for the 16 months since his arrest. His bail is set at $505,000.
This is part of the July 30, 2010 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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