A former home day care owner from Bartlett reportedly convicted of fatally shaking an infant has moved closer to a hearing that could result in a new trial after spending over a decade in prison.
Pamela Jacobazzi, 57, was reportedly found guilty in 1999 of the murder of a 10-month-old boy. He was in her care in August 1994 and died a year and four months later after going into a vegetative state because of brain trauma.
At trial, medical experts reportedly testified that the child showed signs of shaken baby syndrome, or bleeding in the eyes and brain, that could only have been caused by violent shaking. Prosecutors argued that Jacobazzi shook the child in frustration and then gave police different stories about how the injuries occurred.
The defense argued that the injuries could have occurred after the child left her care and said police were too quick to focus on Jacobazzi and did not adequately consider other possibilities.
In April 2007 Gov. Rod Blagojevich denied Jacobazzi's petition for clemency, according to a spokesman for the Illinois Prisoner Review Board. The agency is tasked with reviewing such petitions and making recommendations to the governor's office.
The spokesman recently reportedly declined to say whether the board asked for clemency in Jacobazzi's case, saying it is barred from making recommendations public.
In 2010, the 2nd District Illinois Appellate Court ordered a hearing to determine whether questions surrounding shaken baby syndrome — as well as medical evidence that was not presented at the original trial — warranted a new trial.
Defense attorney Anthony Sassan, of Crystal Lake, reportedly said his client hopes evidence showing the boy had prior injury or illness, along with growing doubt surrounding the diagnosis of shaken baby syndrome, will give Jacobazzi another chance to show her innocence.
A status hearing is reportedly set for this month, and the hearing ordered by the appeals court is scheduled to begin in November.
In a written statement, DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin said Friday he is confident the hearing will show that jurors were correct in their 1999 verdict.
"We will try our case in a court of law, where we expect to contradict the defense's new theory through the presentation of evidence and the cross-examination of expert witnesses," Berlin said.
"This case will not be tried in the media or the court of public opinion. My office stands by the conviction and the jury's finding of guilt."
Jacobazzi is reportedly serving a 32-year sentence at Lincoln Correctional Center near Springfield. She will be eligible for parole in May 2015.
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