Brodhead father appeals homicide conviction
BRODHEAD A Brodhead father serving 40 years in prison for the death of his 2-month-old son is asking for a new trial, saying inadmissible and prejudicial evidence was allowed during his trial.
A Green County jury in January 2009 convicted Casey J. Shelton, 35, of first-degree reckless homicide in the death of his twin son, Christopher. Prosecutors said Christopher died Feb. 28, 2007, at the family’s Decatur Township home while in Shelton’s care. Evidence presented during the trial showed Christopher died from traumatic brain injuries caused by being violently shaken.
Green County Judge James Beer sentenced Shelton to 40 years in prison and 10 years extended supervision.
Shelton’s appeals attorney, Martha Askins, an assistant state public defender, Monday filed with the District 4 Court of Appeals in Madison a brief seeking a new trial.
According to the appeal:
Shelton was deprived of a fair trial because the trial judge allowed inadmissible evidence, such as Shelton’s reported abuse of both his infant sons, abuse of Amy Uptegraw—his girlfriend and the mother of the twins—and her son, excessive drinking and controlling behavior.
Beer had granted the prosecution’s request to introduce evidence of Shelton’s prior bad acts. Prosecutors said Shelton’s earlier aggressive behavior with the twins was evidence of habit and motive.
Shelton’s appeal states the evidence did not show habit and was impermissible character evidence.
Shelton’s trial attorney, Michael Murphy, also failed to request jury instructions to counteract the evidence, and he failed to object to the playing of Uptegraw’s videotaped statement to police, the appeal states.
The appeal comes after Beer in December 2010 denied a motion for a new trial. Beer ruled Shelton’s attorney had acted as a “reasonably prudent attorney.”
Eleven months after Shelton was convicted of the homicide, prosecutors dropped two counts of child abuse against Shelton because family members said they wanted to move on.