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Published: Saturday, 10/16/2010

Man's trial reset for Feb. in death of tot in Napoleon


NAPOLEON - The trial of a Napoleon man charged in the drug overdose death of a 13-month-old girl has been postponed until February.

David Knepley, 50, was to have gone on trial Monday in Henry County Common Pleas Court on charges of involuntary manslaughter and child endangering stemming from the Aug. 15, 2007, death of Kamryn Gerken.

Jayme Schwenkmeyer, was convicted in the death of her 13-month-old daughter. Jayme Schwenkmeyer, was convicted in the death of her 13-month-old daughter.

Knepley was living with the child and her mother, Jayme Schwenkmeyer, at a Napoleon apartment when Kamryn ingested toxic amounts of several drugs, including the painkiller oxycodone and the anti-anxiety medication Xanax.

Henry County Prosecutor John Hanna said Friday that he learned of some new witnesses on Thursday and promptly disclosed them to Mr. Knepley's defense attorney, who then asked the court to exclude their testimony.

Mr. Hanna said Judge Keith P. Muehlfeld declined to grant the motion to exclude the testimony but agreed to delay Mr. Knepley's trial until Feb. 7.

Clayton Crates, attorney for Mr. Knepley, could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, Schwenkmeyer, 24, faces up to 15 years in prison when she is sentenced Oct. 26 by Judge Muehlfeld. She was convicted in August of involuntary manslaughter and child endangering following a week-long jury trial.

Both cases were to have gone to trial last January but were delayed when The Blade filed a motion seeking to overturn a gag order issued by Judge Muehlfeld that prohibited the media from reporting on her trial until a jury had been seated for Mr. Knepley's trial, which was to have been held the following week.

Judge Muehlfeld said he felt the gag order was the only way to prevent the pool of potential jurors for Mr. Knepley's trial from being tainted by news coverage of Schwenkmeyer's trial.

In April, the Ohio Supreme Court struck down the gag order, saying the judge had a duty to give equal weight to a defendant's right to a fair trial and the media's right of free speech and press.

- Jennifer Feehan

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