Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

October 4, 2012

Niemerg trial delayed

Bill Grimes
Effingham Daily News

EFFINGHAM —     Effingham County State’s Attorney Ed Deters won’t be trying the case of a rural Dieterich woman accused of seriously injuring a child in her care more than a year ago.

    Tuesday, Judge Kimberly Koester granted a state motion to continue the case of Kelci N. Niemerg into 2013. Deters asked for the extra time to retain a medical expert capable of perusing the thousands of pages of medical records related to the case — even though the extra time means the case won’t be resolved until after he leaves office Dec. 1.

    Niemerg, 24, is charged with one count of aggravated battery to a child in connection with an alleged incident at her in-home day care in May 2011. Authorities say Niemerg “slammed” young Nathan Dill into a playpen on May 4 of that year, causing permanent injuries to the boy.

    Aggravated battery to a child is a Class X felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

    Deters said during a brief hearing Tuesday that he didn’t receive a report from the defense expert until Aug. 30.

    “Because I didn’t know what would be in that report, I didn’t feel like I could pre-emptively hire an expert,” he said.

Deters added the experts he found could not analyze the records in time for a scheduled Nov. 5 jury selection. That, he said, was “deeply disappointing.”

“It was my desire to get this case done by the time I left office,” he said after the hearing.

Deters, who is not seeking a fourth term, said he would assist the new state’s attorney with the case, if asked. Bryan Kibler, the 2008 GOP candidate, and Democrat Deb Niebrugge Reimers are seeking the open seat in the Nov. 6 general election.

    “I have spoken with both candidates and have offered my assistance,” he said.

    Koester vacated the Nov. 5 jury selection and set a new pretrial date for 9 a.m. Jan. 7.

    “At that time, the new state’s attorney can advise us on when he or she will be ready for trial,” the judge said.

    Defense attorney Bill Milner did not object to Deters’ request for more time.

    “We’d like to get this done just like the state would,” Milner said. “But I don’t see how we can object to this motion. This court has given us plenty of time, so I don’t think in good faith that I can object.”