Melissa Calusinski is the day care worker who’s serving a 31-year sentence in prison for killing 16-month-old Benjamin Kingan when he was under her care in 2009. She says she’s innocent but after nine hours of questioning she confessed to throwing him “really hard” on the floor. Seven years later, with claims of new evidence, Melissa is getting another trial. The defense claims Ben’s x-rays were manipulated to show a fractured skull.
Calusinski now has defense attorney Kathleen Zellner on the case (she took on Steven Avery’s “Making a Murderer” case). Zellner said it would be especially difficult in Lake County — a jurisdiction that has come under intense scrutiny in recent years for wrongful convictions — to get a fair hearing. “They do not want to admit error, and they’ve got a half dozen examples that have cost them millions and millions of dollars,” said Zellner. In September the Lake County judge denied a bid for a new trial. Zellner said: “We are pleased the judge made so many mistakes in his ruling and we are confident of a reversal.” Zellner will file another appeal in January. 48 Hours airs Saturdays at 9pm and 10pm.