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What you need to know for 01/21/2017

Schenectady woman accused of murdering grandson to go on trial Sept. 16

Schenectady woman accused of murdering grandson to go on trial Sept. 16

The woman accused of killing her 8-year-old grandson will go on trial next month, court officials sa

The woman accused of killing her 8-year-old grandson will go on trial next month, court officials said Thursday.

The trial is set to begin Sept. 16, just less than seven months after Sha’hiim Nelligan died. Authorities allege his grandmother and caregiver, Gloria Nelligan, beat him to death.

The trial date came as prosecutors wrapped up a pretrial hearing with a second day of testimony regarding the grandmother’s alleged statements to police in the two days after the boy’s death. The first day of the hearing was last month.

On Thursday, the lead detective in the case, John Hotaling, testified how detectives questioned Nelligan over sessions on consecutive days. Nelligan’s attorney, Mark Caruso, emphasized through his questions that his client’s account remained largely the same throughout.

Also Thursday, prosecutors confirmed there is no audio from the microphones of the officers’ initial entry into the Nelligan home Feb. 23, responding to what was then a medical call for an unresponsive child. The exact cause is unknown, prosecutors said, but it was not intentional on the part of the officers.

Public Safety Commissioner Wayne Bennett said later he was aware of possible problems with power to the systems, that if the car battery was drained, the system could shut down. A solution is being sought, he said.

Hotaling’s appearance itself was noteworthy Thursday in that he has been suspended since April, accused in an off-duty road rage incident in Glenville. That incident was touched on briefly in questioning from prosecutor Christina Tremante-Pelham, who asked Hotaling if he was on paid suspension and whether it was based on an off-duty accusation. Hotaling confirmed both.

Nelligan’s attorney, Caruso, asked Hotaling more specifically about that case, asking if he faced two counts of second-degree menacing in Glenville. Hotaling declined to respond, instead saying that, on advice of his personal attorney, he was exercising his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Nelligan, 43, was arrested the day after the boy’s death.

To officers at the scene, Nelligan said Sha’hiim had hit his head on the bathtub during an outburst. The outburst, she allegedly told police, was one of several incidents of the boy acting out and hurting himself in the days leading to his death.

Authorities have said it wasn’t a fall that caused the boy’s death, however, but a sustained beating by his grandmother. In the end, swelling was so severe, prosecutors have alleged, his heart stopped because of a lack of blood.

Nelligan faces one count each of second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter. She remains in custody.

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