Stapleton Returns to Court for Pretrial Hearing

An emotional Kelli Stapleton back in a Benzie County courtroom today. This is the mother accused of trying to kill her daughter, who has autism.

Today, Stapleton’s attorney asked certain statements by her client be left out when Stapleton goes on trial.

The case started last September when police say Stapleton tried to kill herself and her daughter, Issy, in Elberta.

Investigators say Stapleton put lit charcoal grills in their closed van. Both were hospitalized with carbon monoxide poisoning, but survived.

Tonight, 9&10’s Breelynn Martin has continuing coverage on a case we’ve been following closely for months.

“That she brought Isabelle to a secluded wooded area and that she had to light hibachi grills and told Isabelle that they were going to make s’mores and roast marshmallows.”

It was testimony like this that nearly brought Stapleton to tears.

“And she gave Isabelle a couple pills, I think wisperdal, brought the grills inside the van,” said Stacy Piasecki.  

Piasecki, a CPS worker from Kent County, was one of several people to talk to Stapleton after the incident at Spectrum Hospital in Grand Rapids.

Testimony from her and CPS worker Augustena Baar is what Stapleton’s attorney wants left out in court.

“She stated that she was upset over the fact that Isabelle could not attend school where her father was principal,” said Baar.

Next was Jennifer Schuette, a medical social worker from Spectrum Health. She says Stapleton kept repeating how she wanted to take Issy to heaven. “Given her actions it was my understanding that she was wanting to take her to heaven, that’s what she was trying to do by suicide attempt. And then she comes to the ER saying I still want to do this.”

And Dr. Jill Burden just reinforced their testimony. 

The defense argues Stapleton was unaware of the consequences of speaking to these women.

“At any point in time did you inform her that she was not required to speak with you?” “No that’s not a typical thing to say.”

“Did you inform her of any of the ramifications of a statement she made to you?” “No.”

Testimony will pick back up tomorrow morning with several witnesses from the defense.

9&10 News will bring you continuing coverage as this case continues moving forward.