Foster parent has trial in fatal child abuse case pushed back to July
Feb. 28—One of the kinship foster parents charged in the death of a toddler had her trial moved back to July.
Cassidy Renee Lemmon, 24, is charged with three counts of child abuse resulting in death.
Lemmon had been set for trial on March 7, but a motion to continue was filed by her attorneys on Feb. 16, citing the large amount of phone and computer evidence in the case.
The motion also noted prosecutors did not object to the trial being continued, and Boulder District Judge Thomas Mulvahill granted the request.
Because the trial is expected to last three weeks, the trial had to be set in the summer, and will start on July 18.
Lemmon and her common-law husband Vincent Johnson were both charged and arrested in the 2019 death of Thomas Boyles, who was 16 months old.
According to an affidavit, Boyles was related to Johnson and had been living in foster care with Johnson, Lemmon and their young daughter since November 2018.
Police said Lemmon called 911 on April 22, 2019, and said the child was not breathing and she was doing CPR. The child was taken to Longmont United Hospital and later airlifted to Children's Hospital in Aurora.
The toddler was pronounced dead two days after the 911 call.
Police were called when doctors noted suspicious bruising on Boyle's face, stomach and limbs.
According to the affidavit, forensic pathologist Dr. Meredith Frank determined the boy died as a result of blunt force injuries to the head and trunk. In addition, Frank noted the presence of some healed rib fractures.
While CPR was performed, Frank said the injuries were not consistent with damage caused solely by CPR, and said, "There is not a sufficient explanation for the severity of the head injuries or healing rib fractures.
Noting the death was "highly suspicious in nature," Frank ruled the manner of death a homicide.
Both Johnson and Lemmon initially denied ever abusing the boy, saying the child bruised easily and had a habit of hitting himself on walls or toys. They also said the boy was sick in the days leading up to his death, according to the affidavit.
But the woman who had fostered the toddler before Johnson and Lemmon said she had never seen any evidence of self-harming and said he did not bruise easily.
Doctors noted the injuries were "too severe" to be the result of self-harming behavior. They also noted the injuries were to the toddler's soft tissue areas, not protruding hard areas or joints where accidental injuries would be expected.
Doctors said the injuries were more consistent with a child being thrown down or shaken violently.
Witnesses also reported seeing a recent change in the toddler's behavior along with the bruising, noting the boy stopped interacting and seemed "flat."
When confronted with the fact that medical evidence did not support their story, Johnson said Lemmon initially treated the boy like her own son, but eventually began ignoring him or becoming angry when he sought attention.
Johnson said he saw Lemmon on occasion pick up the boy by his limbs and throw him into his play area, according to the affidavit.
According to the affidavit, Johnson told police the night after the boy died Lemmon got drunk and said, "I'm really sorry."
Johnson admitted he also might have squeezed the boy too hard and yelled at him, and also said he should have done more to stop the abuse.
But when confronted with medical evidence and Johnson's testimony, Lemmon said Johnson had temper tantrums and also would hit and shake the boy.
Johnson has already pleaded guilty to child abuse — negligence resulting in death and received a stipulated 12-year prison sentence in exchange for testifying against Lemmon at trial.