TOPEKA, Kan. — A split decision by the Kansas Supreme Court means a woman accused of killing a child in her custody will get a new trial.

In August 2021, the Kansas Court of Appeals ordered a new trial for Carrody Buchhorn, of Eudora, who was convicted of second-degree murder after a baby died at her daycare center. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Nine-month-old Oliver “Ollie” Ortiz was found unresponsive in his crib at Buchhorn’s daycare following an afternoon nap. Although first responders tried to revive him, he did not survive.

The coroner said Ortiz died from a blow to the head. Buchhorn was the last person with the child, but she denied hurting the infant.

But the appeals court said Buchhorn’s attorney didn’t thoroughly investigate the coroner’s ruling after the suggestion Ortiz died from a blow to the head.

The Douglas County District Attorney’s office appealed the 2021 ruling to the Kansas Supreme Court. The state’s high court was split in its decision, however, meaning the appeals court decision stands. Buchhorn will get a new trial.

While there are normally seven justices on the court, Justice Keynen “K.J.” Wall did not participate in the review because of his prior connection with the case while in private practice before joining the court, according to Lisa Taylor, a spokesperson for the Kansas Supreme Court.

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