Trial involving child’s death faces delay

By Mackenzi Klemann -

LIMA — The November jury trial for Romiere Hale, charged with murder, involuntary manslaughter and endangering children in connection to the April 12 death of Ma’Laya Dewitt, may be delayed after Hale’s attorney withdrew his representation Thursday so Hale could request a court appointed counsel.

Attorney Kenneth Rexford told the Allen County Common Pleas Court Thursday that he was withdrawing so Hale “doesn’t has to rely on his family’s resources.”

Judge Terri Kohlrieser granted the request, but noted that appointing a new attorney could push back Hale’s trial date, currently scheduled for 8:45 a.m. Monday, Nov. 12.

Hale is facing one count of murder, an unclassified felony; one count of involuntary manslaughter, a first-degree felony; and eight counts of endangering children, classified as both second- and third-degree felonies, following the death of Dewitt, who was found unresponsive on April 12.

An initial autopsy found that Dewitt, 4, died of severe abdominal injuries.

Hale reportedly told investigators that he hit Dewitt in the stomach days earlier while disciplining the child. His attorney told a similar story during an initial hearing in April, describing the incident as “a horribly gone wrong case of discipline that should have been handled in a different way.”

Dewitt’s mother, Stayce Riley, also faces trial in December on charges of involuntary manslaughter and child endangering.

A scheduling conference for Hale is scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday, Oct. 1, in Allen County Common Pleas Court.

By Mackenzi Klemann

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