Orange City daycare provider asking for change of trial venue - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Orange City daycare provider asking for change of trial venue

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KCAU -- The Orange City, Iowa, daycare worker charged with the death of a three year–old girl while under her care is asking for a change of venue for her trial.

Attorneys for Rochelle Sapp, 33, say that extensive media coverage of the death of 3-year–old Autumn Elgersma, along with coverage on Sapp's subsequent arrest, has made it impossible for her to get a fair trial in Sioux County.

Sapp plead not guilty to her charges of First Degree Murder and Child Endangerment for the death of Elgersma. Elgersma was in Sapp's care on October 29, 2013 when she suffered a fractured skull and brain trauma. She died from her injuries in a Sioux Falls hospital on October 31.

Court documents show Sapp initially told Elgersma's mother the girl had fallen down the stairs and hurt her neck. Hospital staff noticed the injuries were not consistent with Sapp's story.

When police questioned Sapp, she admitted that "she threw her down hard on the ground" because the girl was having trouble getting her coat off.

Sapp initially faced charges of Felony Willful Injury and Felony Child Endangerment, but those charges were dropped while authorities gathered enough evidence to charge her with murder. The key piece of evidence was the autopsy, which determined that Autumn died from blunt force trauma to the head and her death was ruled a homicide.

Attorneys claim attention surrounding the case has tainted any potential jury pool.

A judge has yet to rule on whether the trial will indeed be moved.

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