Mom accused of child's death appears in court

- Jolanda Stridiron is living a mother's worst pain. Her 6-year-old daughter died from a brain condition.

One year later, her grief turned to anguish when she was arrested and charged with her daughter's death, facing aggravated manslaughter.

Months after she was arrested, Stridiron is back in court and Hillsborough Co. public defender Michael Peacock said he is ready for a fight. 

"They're on a witch hunt, quite frankly. That's what they're doing," Peacock said.

Hillsborough prosecutor Jennifer Johnson said doctors told Stridiron, on multiple occasions, if her daughter had headaches, it could be the sign of a medical emergency and take her to the hospital. 

In court Friday, prosecutors said Stridiron's daughter complained of headaches, but instead of rushing her to the hospital, but she waited for an already-scheduled appointment with the doctor the following week.

Meanwhile, Peacock doesn't want  prosecutors to get their hands on the child's complete medical records.

But prosecutor Johnson told the judge, "the state needs the medical records to prove the fact the her death was caused by the defendant."

They do have some of the child's records, but prosecutors noted they were received second-hand through Hillsborough deputies.

The defense questioned whether the medical records, protected by HIPPA, were obtained properly.

"How ever law enforcement got those records, we don't know," said Peacock.

What really seemed to trouble Hillsborough Circuit Judge Christopher Sabella was this from the prosecutor:

"There are visits where the mother took the daughter to the doctor because she was having headaches, and the doctor said she was fine. 'You can take her back home,'" Johnson said.

Judge Sabella: The doctors won't testify to this?
Johnson: We can't even find out who the doctors are without having the medical records, Judge.
Judge Sabella: You filed the charges without knowing who the doctors were that told the defendant she was suppose to take her child to the doctor?
Johnson: Well, we have witnesses as well, judge.

This seemed to add fuel to the defense's argument.

"Did the state charge this woman, who has never been charged in her life before, who has taken care of this child, and is now being charged with a crime over a year from the time it occurred? This is a significant thing," Peacock said in court.

Judge Sabella denied the prosecution's motion to obtain more medical records. He also expressed concern with how partial medical records were obtained by adding, "what [prosecutors] can do, or use them for, is another issue for another day," Sabella said.

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