Date: 1987-07-03

Richmond Times-Dispatch
July 3, 1987

A sick witness will not delay the murder trial of Karen Diehl, a judge said yesterday.

Circuit Judge Alan Rosenblatt said Mrs. Diehl's trial will begin as scheduled Monday, the same day her husband, Michael, goes on trial in an adjacent courtroom.

The couple are charged in the October death of their 13-year-old adopted son, Dominick "Andrew" Diehl. An autopsy concluded the boy died of repeated head blows, but the Diehls insist they merely were trying to deter the emotionally disturbed youth from bed-wetting.

Mrs. Diehl's attorney, Thomas B. Shuttleworth, had asked for a delay because a minister who counseled the family and presided over the boy's funeral is recovering from heart surgery.

Her trial already had been delayed twice, once because Commonwealth's Attorney Paul C. Sciortino was recovering after a car crash and once because of the minister's illness.

Yesterday Rosenblatt approved a compromise proposed earlier by Michael Diehl's attorney that would allow lawyers to interview the minister at his home and read his testimony into the record at both trials.

Because Virginia Beach is one of six state courts participating in a two- year experiment with cameras in the courtroom, photographers will be allowed to record the testimony and arguments.

Cameras will not be allowed to roll during the jury selection process, which begins Monday and is scheduled to last several days.


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