Jayson Schimmel of Lockwood Valley, Stephen Otto Schimmel
A criminal grand jury has handed down an indictment dated October 15 ordering that Jayson Schimmel of Lockwood Valley be tried for the death of his baby son.
Deputy D.A. Rameen Minoui said the indictment held three felony counts. They are assault on a child causing death, murder and corporal injury to a child with a special allegation that he caused great bodily injury during that assault. The prosecutor said he’s not yet sure if he’ll ask a jury for a first or second degree murder conviction.
He would not comment on how long the grand jury heard testimony or what was said since it is a secret hearing. He did confirm that there were both law enforcement and civilian witnesses.
Schimmel’s Deputy Public Defender Rod Kodman said the defense team and the defendant’s family are “bitterly disappointed” to have missed out on a chance to test the evidence in a preliminary hearing in open court. Defense counsel is excluded from grand jury proceedings.
Schimmel pleaded not guilty to the charges in the indictment on Monday, Oct. 19, and his trial was set for November 16.
The public defender says he had subpoenaed five witnesses and prepared 34 exhibits to try to sway a judge against holding Schimmel to answer for murder.
The attorney estimated that the preliminary hearing would have lasted three days while he tried to poke holes in the prosecution’s case and reveal inconsistent statements of witnesses.
The transcripts of the grand jury hearing are sealed at this time. Schimmel remains in custody in Ventura County with bail set at $505,000.
This is part of the October 30, 2009 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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