exposing the dark side of adoption
Register Log in

Murder trial in toddler's death delayed


ROCKFORD - The murder trial of a Loves Park woman charged with killing her 22-month-old daughter has been delayed.

Sandra Scudder, 54, faces first-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter charges in the June 13, 2002, death of Esther Scudder, whom Sandra Scudder adopted from China. Scudder, who is free on $300,000 bond, is set to face the charges Sept. 22 before Circuit Judge Rosemary Collins.

Attorneys in the case - Winnebago County prosecutor Margie O'Connor and defense attorney Debra Schafer of Sreenan & Cain - are settling complicated pretrial motions and interviewing expert witnesses in preparation for the trial.

Loves Park Police, the Winnebago County coroner's and state's attorney's offices, and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services investigated the death for two months before arresting Scudder at her home Aug. 12. Autopsy results show that Esther died from blunt trauma to the head.

The penalty for first-degree murder is 20 to 60 years in prison. The penalty for involuntary manslaughter is three to 14 years in prison.

2003 Jun 18