Trial Delayed in Death of Child at Johnston Daycare, Suspect Asks for Change of Venue

Trina Mazza and attorney Montgomery Brown at hearing on motion to dismiss charge of child neglect resulting in death. July, 24, 2019 (WHO-HD)

POLK COUNTY, Iowa – The trial of a Johnston daycare provider charged with child endangerment causing death has been continued until February.

Attorneys for Trina Mazza are also asking for her trial to be moved out of Polk County because they say she can’t get a fair trial due to publicity of the case.

According to court documents, District Judge William P. Kelly agreed to the delay at a hearing last week. He also agreed more information was needed to determine whether “a degree of prejudice exists in Polk County” that would call for Mazza’s trial to be moved.

With that in mind, he authorized the prosecution and defense to draft a survey to be presented to Polk County jurors between November 18th and January 13th, 2020. Judge Kelly will consider the motion after the survey is complete.

Mazza is charged in the February death of 17-month-old Tucker Schneider. She was caring for the child at her unlicensed in-home daycare. He died a few days after being found unresponsive, wedged upside down between two “pack and play” bassinets.

An autopsy determined he died of accidental traumatic asphyxia.

According to investigators, Mazza was caring for more than seven children the day Schneider was found unresponsive.

Court documents reveal Mazza called her husband, before calling 911, after she discovered Schneider not breathing on February 15th.

Mazza also faces a charge of operating an unlicensed daycare in the case.

Her trial had been scheduled for December 2nd but has now been delayed until February 3rd.

In a separate case, Trina and her husband, Michael Mazza, also face charges of dependent adult abuse, theft, and forgery. Investigators say the couple stole more than $163,000 from Michael Mazza’s mother.

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