Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ohio Woman Who Was Three When Mom Killed to Be Key Witness in Stepfather's Murder Trial

Wednesday, June 10, 2009



TOLEDO, Ohio —

A woman who was 3 years old when her mother was killed more than 17 years ago is likely to be a key witness at her stepfather's murder trial.

Prosecutors say Desiree Andaverde saw Thomas Zich put his wife's body in a car trunk in 1991.

Sixty-two-year-old Zich is accused of strangling Mary Jane Zich and faces life in prison if convicted. Opening statements are expected Wednesday in Toledo.

A defense attorney argued that Andaverde should not be allowed to testify because her young age at the time of the killing made it unlikely she could offer reliable statements. But a judge ruled last week that her testimony is relevant and should be considered by a jury.

Investigators reopened the case in 2005 and charged Zich two years ago.

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