Murder Trial Delayed For Ottumwa Woman

By Jason Van Arkel, July 09, 2019

The Ottumwa woman accused of murdering her daughter last year will have to wait until later this year for her trial to begin.

Kelsie Thomas faces a charge of first-degree murder in the July 2018 death of five-year-old Chloe Marie Chandler. Thomas is also charged with child endangerment resulting in death. Her trial had been scheduled to begin on September 10th, but last week, Iowa Assistant Attorney General Scott Brown asked for a continuance. Court filings indicate that staffing issues in the attorney general’s office will make it impossible for them to try Thomas’ case in September.

Judge Lucy Gamon approved the continuance, but did not set a new trial. Prosecutors have asked for a November trial date, and Thomas’ defense has not objected.

Thomas is accused of choking her daughter to death with a pair of pajama pants. Ottumwa police were called to Thomas’ home on North James Street on July 19th of last year, where they found Chandler unresponsive. She was later pronounced dead at Ottumwa Regional Medical Center. An autopsy determined that she died of strangulation. According to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Thomas was arrested a week later after she admitted to killing her daughter.

Thomas has pleaded not guilty to the charges. She faces a mandatory sentence of life without parole if convicted of first-degree murder.

As a reminder, a criminal charge is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.


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