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Trout, Pavelka headed toward spring trials in child murder | News, Sports, Jobs | #childabuse | #children | #kids | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey

News Photo by Julie Riddle
Defense attorney Matt Wojda, seated, appears on behalf of murder defendant Adrienne Pavelka, bottom of screen, in the 23rd Circuit Court in Harrisville on Tuesday. Defense attorney Bill Pfeifer, top right on screen — attorney for Aaron Trout, also charged with murder — appears also, as Judge Laura Frawley presides.

HARRISVILLE — Murder trials in the death of a toddler in Alcona County could begin as soon as mid-April, an Alcona County judge confirmed on Tuesday.

The court has scheduled a three-week jury trial for Aaron Trout, accused in the July 22 death of 2-year-old Jayde McDonnell.

Scheduled to begin April 17, the trial would include police testimony about Trout’s alleged ongoing abuse of the child, culminating in violence that led to the toddler’s death several days later.

Trout has pleaded not guilty. He is currently held in the Iosco County Jail on charges of murder and child abuse.

At a Tuesday hearing in the 23rd Circuit Court, Judge Laura Frawley confirmed the April trial date for Trout, unless something arises to delay it.

News Photo by Julie Riddle
At a hearing for Aaron Trout in Harrisville on Tuesday, Trout, bottom right on screen, appears virtually with his attorney, Bill Pfeifer, top right on screen. Alonca County Prosecutor Tom Weichel, seated, discusses court procedure with Judge Laura Frawley in the 23rd Circuit Court.

A separate three-week trial for Adrienne Pavelka, the child’s mother, is scheduled to begin May 15.

Alcona County Prosecutor Tom Weichel charged Pavelka with murder and child abuse in the child’s death. The charges indicate Pavelka failed to keep the girl away from a known threat and failed to seek medical help while the toddler suffered for days with traumatic brain injuries before her death.

Also held in the Iosco County Jail, Pavelka has claimed via her attorney that Trout prevented her from seeking help and that she could not have known his alleged abuse of the girl would escalate to the use of deadly force.

Weichel and Matt Wojda, attorney for Pavelka, confirmed they have had conversations about a potential plea agreement for Pavelka.

Weichel has not offered Trout a plea deal.

News Photo by Julie Riddle
Aaron Trout, bottom right, appears virtually from the Iosco County Jail at a hearing in the 23rd Circuit Court in Harrisville on Tuesday. Attorney Bill Pfeifer, top right, speaks for his client as Judge Laura Frawley, top left, presides.

Weichel said he is pushing the Michigan State Police crime lab to complete DNA and other analyses of evidence related to the child’s death as quickly as possible.

Frawley, at Tuesday’s hearing, told attorneys she would be disinclined to agree to allow Trout and Pavelka’s cases to be joined to go to trial together.

At a joint hearing in October, at which witnesses presented testimony related to the child’s death, attorneys objected numerous times to testimony concerning one defendant that could inappropriately harm the other.

While the murder charges for each defendant stem from the same incident, a joint trial could prove confusing to a jury, Frawley cautioned.

“I’d like to keep this as clean and straightforward as we can,” she said.

Weichel said he has not yet decided whether to request the cases be joined.

Trout and Pavelka return to court for a status conference on Feb. 21.

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