Mother Testifies In Benzie County Attempted Murder Case

For the first time, we hear from a Benzie County mother accused of trying to kill her daughter.

An emotional Kelli Stapleton said she doesn’t remember much about the day she’s accused of trying to kill herself, and daughter Issy.

This is a case Northern Michigan’s News Leader has been following for months.

Inside that van were two lit charcoal grills.

Both survived, but suffered carbon monoxide poisoning.

Stapleton’s Attorney is trying to have statements her client made to professionals after the incident left out at trial.

“I do remember her telling me to lay down and she thought I was having a heart attack and that I was very sick and that’s all I remember,” said Stapleton.

These are the letters the prosecutors say Stapleton wrote to her husband, Matt, about what happened.

“I wanted to write a letter to Matt to explain why September third happened and why Ansley must not think that she should want to die,” said Stapleton.

Matt handed those letters over to investigators.

And the prosecution wanted to know why Stapleton didn’t send them through the jail.

“There was a woman who was being released and I asked her to mail one of the letters to Matt for me,” said Stapleton.

During the hearing, the defense asked that testimony from several witnesses not be allowed at trial.

One of those witnesses is Candace Swander from Child Protective Services.

She spoke to Stapleton in jail after her arrest.

“I really wanted to give her all the information, so she could quickly clear my husband,” said Stapleton.

And she also expressed how she wanted her kids to remain with their dad.

“Very concerned about my husband that he wasn’t accused of doing anything. He’s been nothing but a perfect father,” said Stapleton.

There will be another hearing in a few weeks and the judge will decide what will, and will not be allowed when Stapleton goes on trial.