Bolivar man seeks to have conviction overturned
The attorney for a Bolivar man who is serving up to 30 years in prison for killing his baby said evidence that the child's mother was a drug user could have helped him win an acquittal during his murder trial.
Clayton Mibroda, 26, contends that his conviction on a third-degree murder charge should be overturned based on errors made during his trial.
The defense said the key mistake was that Westmoreland County Judge John Blahovec refused to allow the defense to introduce evidence that 20-day-old Natalee Kay Mibroda was born addicted to drugs.
The girl's mother, Kayla Lichtenfels, was using drugs while pregnant, defense attorney Joe Ryan said in court on Monday.
Ryan replaced Public Defender Wayne McGrew as Mibroda's defense lawyer. The defense contends McGrew provided an inadequate defense during a three-day trial in January.
McGrew, who represented Mibroda at the trial, testified that he attempted to have child welfare caseworkers testify about the mother and baby's drug issues, but that evidence was barred by Blahovec.
“The whole strategy was that Kayla was responsible for the death of the child and that started prior to her birth by having drugs in her system. That set the whole stage,” McGrew testified.
Prosecutors said the newborn died on Dec. 27, 2011, from extensive blunt-force trauma injuries to the head and chest. The baby suffered a fractured clavicle, bleeding in her brain and cuts to her mouth that indicated someone had shoved a bottle, pacifier or another object into her mouth, according to trial testimony.
During the trial, Lichtenfels testified that she visited a doctor on the morning that her daughter died to be treated for postpartum depression. When she returned to the home she shared with Mibroda, he refused to give her the baby, she testified.
The newborn eventually was found unresponsive and not breathing.
At the trial, Mibroda testified that he saw Lichtenfels shaking the baby, but he told investigators that he dropped the child.
The defense wants a new trial because McGrew failed to ask that a series of statements Mibroda gave to police before his arrest be excluded from the trial.
In addition, the defense contends a McGrew erred by not asking that jurors be selected from another county, Ryan said.
Blahovec said he will make a ruling this year once attorneys submit written arguments.
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Man snatches purse behind mall
- Ex-Milwaukee archbishop told he can’t spend final days at St. Vincent Archabbey
- Contract with prison counselors ratified
- Hookah bar on tap for Greensburg
- Greensburg pawn shop aids in arrest of home repair scam suspect
- PennDOT to stabilize rock slide along Penn Adamsburg Road in Hempfield
- 3 identified in Route 66 crash near Delmont
- Greensburg man charged with assaulting hospital guard
- Penn Township sues to get blighted property cleaned
- Walker: Latrobe gets ready to welcome Steelers back to camp
- Traffic worry could stall retail plans in Murrysville