Date: 1989-09-23

Richmond Times-Dispatch

Karen Diehl, her 1987 manslaughter and abduction convictions overturned by the state Court of Appeals, is free on $60,000 bail.

Judge Alan E. Rosenblatt ordered Mrs. Diehl released Thursday after a hearing in district court.

Mrs. Diehl was convicted of abduction, manslaughter, assault and child neglect in the Oct. 29, 1986 death of her adopted 13-year-old son.

Dominick J. Diehl was found on the floor of a converted school bus the family lived in. He had been beaten severely.

Mrs. Diehl's husband, Michael, is serving a 41-year sentence for murder, abduction and child neglect. He, too, has appealed his conviction.

Earlier this month, a three-judge panel of the state appeals court overturned her conviction on the grounds that Rosenblatt failed to remove a biased juror.

Mrs. Diehl did not attend the hearing because there was no time to transport her from the Correctional Center for Women in Goochland, said Robert G. Morecock, one of her attorneys.

Prosecutors argued that Mrs. Diehl should remain in prison while the state appeals the decision of the three-judge panel to the full appeals court.

"In the interest of fairness, I don't know that Mrs. Diehl should have to wait" in prison during the appeals process, Rosenblatt said.

Prosecutors said it would be two weeks before the full appeals court could hear the case.

During her original trial, Mrs. Diehl was free on $60,000 bond.

"I would have to conclude Mrs. Diehl is likely to appear (for a new trial). She always has," Rosenblatt said.


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