Mass. trial of dad charged in death of son delayedAP , Associated Press
Jun. 6, 2013 12:41 PM ET
WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — The trial of a Massachusetts man charged with beating to death his 7-year-old son on Father's Day four years ago has been postponed because an expert defense witness is unavailable.
The murder trial of Leslie Schuler, 40, was scheduled to start next month in Worcester Superior Court, but a judge changed it Wednesday to Nov. 14.
Schuler's lawyer, Alan Black, said in a motion to continue the trial date that Dr. Jan Leestma, a neuropathologist from Chicago whom he plans to call as an expert witness, would be unavailable from mid-July until Aug. 15 because of a nonrefundable, prepaid family vacation, the Telegram & Gazette (http://bit.ly/19LhgxI ) reported.
Black told the judge that Leestma is "crucial to the case," and the prosecutor agreed to the trial date change.
Schuler beat Nathaniel Turner, 7, and slammed his head against a wall on June 21, 2009, prosecutors allege. The boy died two days later. An autopsy determined that the boy suffered blunt force trauma to the head, torso and extremities.
Leestma wrote in a report that Nathaniel appeared to have been physically maltreated in the past by someone other than Schuler.
The boy lived with his grandmother in Eufaula, Ala., but came to Massachusetts to spend the summer with his father and his girlfriend, authorities said.
The girlfriend is charged with failing to do anything to stop the alleged abuse.
Schuler has pleaded not guilty.
Information from: Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, Mass.), http://www.telegram.com