CLEARFIELD – The attorney for a woman charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of her infant daughter is asking to be able to talk to a witness from the county’s Children, Youth and Family Services.
Police say Alexa Lynn Kephart, 22, of Grampian, and her boyfriend, Dakota James Lynn Canfield, 23, were under the influence of drugs when their 39-day-old daughter died on July 1.
According to the affidavit, the one-month-old baby was asleep with them in their bed. When they woke around 10:14 a.m. the next morning, they found the baby lying against her mother on her left side, facing her mother and covered with a blanket.
The child was reportedly unconscious and blue. Attempts to revive her were unsuccessful.
Canfield is facing two felony counts of endangering the welfare of children and misdemeanor recklessly endangering another person. He has signed a plea agreement and will be scheduled for sentencing.
In addition to involuntary manslaughter, Kephart is also charged with two felony counts of endangering the welfare of children and a misdemeanor count of recklessly endangering another person. Her trial is scheduled for December.
Kephart’s attorney, Mike Worgul, filed a motion to require CYFS to cooperate with the defense’s independent investigation, which was discussed during motions court on Monday.
Worgul told Judge Paul Cherry that when he arrived to interview a CYFS employee, he was surprised to find a representative of the District Attorney’s office was there as well. The interview was rescheduled.
He stated they wanted to interview the witness in preparation for the trial and wanted to do it, without the DA “looking over our shoulder.”
Later he received a letter from a county solicitor stating that the witness was advised not to talk to the defense attorneys.
Deputy District Attorney Trudy Lumadue responded to this by stating that the witness has a right to say they don’t want to speak to the defense, adding that anything the witness would be discussing is already reflected in the CYFS records of the case.
Cherry denied Worgul’s motion but said there is nothing to stop a subpoena being issued for the witness.