Convictions in Boys’ Deaths During Camping Trip Overturned

An Ohio Court of Appeals has over-turned a conviction of a couple for involuntary manslaughter related to the death of two boys on a camping trip.

The case is State v. Klein, 2013-Ohio-228.

The defendants were convicted of involuntary manslaughter and other crimes.

The facts occurred in 2011. Richard Klein and his wife, codefendant Kasey Klein, commenced a tent camping trip at Ellis Dam with Kasey’s sons, A.C. (age three) and A.J. (age two).

Emergency management officials were alerted that the boys were missing.  Rescue personnel eventually found A.C.’s body in the Muskingum River. The coroner subsequently determined that A.C.’s death was caused by accidental drowning. A.J. has never been found.

According to Kasey’s trial testimony, the boys were permitted to stay up until about 9:00 PM. The next morning, the couple noticed that the boys were missing and rescue officials were called to the scene.

One of the major issues was whether the couple should have been tried together or separately.  Normally, trials of co-defendants may be held together.  This is done to save judicial and prosecutorial resources.  However, in this case the appeals court concluded that the joint trial prejudiced the husband.  A new trial was necessary because of an insinuation in the testimony of the wife that that the husband had murdered the two victims.

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