Relates to:
Date: 1995-03-31

Author: BYLINE: Bill Gardner, Staff Writer

Charges against a Lakeville woman accused of killing her adopted baby have been reduced as a result of new evidence presented to Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom.

Although Backstrom would not provide any details about the new evidence, he said he dismissed previous grand jury charges against Julie McClure and convened a new grand jury to consider the new evidence ``in the interests of justice.''

Backstrom said he wanted the grand jury to hear ``all available expert testimony and evidence pertaining to this case.''

The second grand jury indicted McClure on charges of second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the the August 1993 death of 10-month-old Jessica Li McClure. The previous grand jury had indicted McClure on those two charges plus first-degree murder involving the commission of a past pattern of child abuse.

The allegation of a pattern of child abuse was based on the fact that X-rays revealed the baby had suffered fractures of 14 bones. McClure's lawyer, Mark McDonough, however, contended that the baby suffered from osteogenesis imperfecta, a rare disease that makes bones abnormally brittle and easily broken in normal daily activity.

McClure says Jessica, a baby brought here for adoption from China, died after suffering a skull fracture from an accidental fall.

The prosecution contends the injuries were inconsistent with an accidental fall, and investigators seized a piece of wallboard that had a dent about the size of a baby's head and had broken human hairs embedded in the dent.

McClure has been free on $50,000 bond and is scheduled for an omnibus hearing on April 10.

Backstrom said he expects the trial to begin within two or three months.


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