Ex-Sparks Woman Won't Get New Trial In 1974 Death

Date: 2007-07-28
Source: KOLO TV

A judge has denied a new trial for a 68-year-old former Nevada woman convicted last month for the 1974 kicking death of her adopted, developmentally disabled toddler.

Catherine Wyman, formerly Catherine Bader of Sparks, was convicted of second-degree murder following a jury trial where she testified on her own behalf.

Her estranged daughter, Julie Bader-Dunn, was the main witness.

Bader-Dunn came forward in 2005 following her father's death and multiple bouts with cancer.

On Friday, Washoe District Judge Jerome Polaha denied Catherine Wyman's request for an acquittal or conviction on a lesser charge.

He also said she could not be released on bail before her scheduled sentencing on Aug. 15.

When James "J.W." Bader, 3, died on Aug. 10, 1974, Wyman told hospital officials he had fallen off a lawn chair at his sister's softball game.

The coroner, an insurance salesman with no medical training, ruled his death an accident despite a pathologist's findings that the little boy's intestines ruptured and caused a fatal infection.

The case was reopened last year after Bader-Dunn came forward and said she had seen her mother repeatedly kick J.W. in the stomach, ram his head into fence posts and slam toilet seats on his genitals.

She said she had been too frightened to come forward as a teen and feared her father, a Reno firefighter, would kill her mother.

A forensic pathologist reviewed J.W.'s autopsy and said he was severely abused and was a homicide victim.

Wyman was arrested last year in Arizona, where she was living.


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