The trial of an Ottumwa woman accused of murdering her daughter has already been scheduled to begin six different times, and it may soon be pushed back again.
Kelsie Thomas faces a charge of first-degree murder in the July 2018 death of five-year-old Chloe Marie Chandler. Thomas is accused of choking her daughter to death with a pair of pajama pants. Her current trial date, February 11th of next year, was set just two weeks ago after the defense asked for a continuance.
On Monday, however, Judge Greg Milani ordered a pretrial hearing for December 16th, saying there was an issue with the scheduled February 11th trial date. If Thomas’ trial is rescheduled again, it would mark the seventh time the courts have tried to set a start date. It’s unknown whether the issue has something to do with either the prosecution or the defense, or if the date creates a scheduling conflict with the court. Another felony trial, the attempted murder trial of Jacob Heckethorn, is also scheduled for February 11th in Wapello County.
Ottumwa police were called to Thomas’ home on North James Street on July 19th of 2018, 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.