Woman found guilty in day care murder wins in court, will get new hearing

    Melissa Calusinsk
    Melissa Calusinski

    Nearly five years after a Chicago-area day care worker was found guilty of murder in the death of a toddler, a Lake County judge ruled Monday that he will allow new testimony to be heard in the case — a turn the woman’s lawyers hope will lead to a reversal of her conviction.

    The legal victory for Melissa Calusinski, whose case has attracted national attention, gives her lawyers the chance to offer what they say is new evidence showing that the boy in Calusinski’s care died not by her hand but of a previous injury — a claim prosecutors dispute.

    “This is not a small feat. This is very rare,” Calusinski’s high-profile lawyer, Kathleen Zellner, said of the court victory.

    The ruling to allow a so-called evidentiary hearing in the case was made by the same judge, Daniel Shanes, who oversaw Calusinski’s 2011 trial and sentenced her in 2012 to 31 years in prison. Read more >>