KAREN DIEHL LOSES APPEAL ON 5-5 VOTE PROSECUTORS TO SEEK HER RETURN TO PRISON

Date: 1990-04-04

Jim Haner
The Virginian-Pilot

Karen Diehl, whose conviction for the beating death of an adopted son was overturned in September on appeal, will likely be returned to prison to resume serving her 31-year sentence under a ruling issued Tuesday.

Prosecutors will seek to have Diehl returned to the Virginia Correctional Center for Women in Goochland as soon as a hearing can be scheduled, said Commonwealth's Attorney Robert J. Humphreys.

Diehl was released on $60,000 bond Sept. 21 after a three-judge Court of Appeals panel ruled that the judge who presided at her 1987 trial should have removed a biased juror. On Tuesday, the full 10-member appeals court, in a 5-5 vote, effectively reversed that decision.

Diehl had been scheduled for a new jury trial Monday, but the trial was delayed pending the appeals court decision that was released Tuesday.

Diehl was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, abduction, assault and child neglect in the death of her son Dominick J. ``Andrew'' Diehl, 13. Her husband, Michael J. Diehl, 44, was convicted in a separate trial of premeditated murder, abduction, assault and child neglect in the youngster's death. An appeals court panel upheld his 41-year sentence in October.

Andrew died Oct. 29, 1986, five days after he was found battered in a converted bus, where the Diehls lived with their 16 children - 12 of them adopted.

The couple testified that Andrew died as they disciplined him. Michael Diehl disciplined Andrew by shackling him naked, beating him repeatedly and forcing him to eat his own feces and urine. The abduction charge stemmed from the Diehls' shackling their son.

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