Autopsy photos allowed into evidence in manslaughter case.

July 17, 2017

Rebecca Deters

Autopsy photos allowed into evidence in manslaughter case.


By Allison Scarbrough. Editor.

HART — Judge Robert D. Springstead of the 27th Circuit Court ruled Monday, July 17, that 16 autopsy photos will be allowed into evidence in the case against Rebecca Ann Deters, 41, of 5030 E. Loop Rd., Hesperia, who is charged with homicide-involuntary manslaughter for the Jan. 4, 2017 death of a 55-year-old disabled man, Scott McCallum.

Deters’ defense attorney, Terry Shaw, argued that all but one of the photos not be allowed as evidence exhibits, claiming that they are “highly-inflammatory” and “would prejudice the jury.”

“We tried our best to eliminate anything gruesome,” said Oceana County Prosecutor Joseph Bizon. “It shows good faith on our part by not making this a side-show circus.”

Springstead said the photos provide “a fair and accurate depiction of what they are purported to be” and allowed them into evidence. “They are graphic, but that is the nature of what we do in criminal court some times.”

Deters faces up to 15 years in prison for the felony of homicide-involuntary manslaughter, and she is also charged with misdemeanors of failure to report the discovery of a dead body and attempted removal of a dead body without the medical examiner’s permission.

The prosecution has offered a plea agreement in which Deters can plead to the felony homicide/manslaughter charge, and other two counts would be dismissed, said Bizon. She would not have to serve more than two years in prison for her minimum sentence.

Shaw said his client will maintain a “not guilty” plea as his firm seeks assistance from medical experts, particularly on the disease, sepsis.

Bizon said previously that the prosecution is not “revoking or closing off negotiations” in the meantime. “I know that the case is complicated,” he said.

“It is a complex case,” said Springstead.

Deters is lodged in the Oceana County Jail on a $150,000/cash/surety/10 percent bond.

Deters, who was McCallum’s legal caregiver, “negligently failed to comply with her obligation to care for him, and that resulted in his death,” said Bizon previously.

Deters cared for bedridden McCallum, who suffered from multiple sclerosis, in his son’s home, Bizon said. She was in a relationship with his son, Dean McCallum, who was incarcerated in the Ottawa County Jail on charges unrelated to this incident. At that time, Deters took over the caregiving duties for her boyfriend’s father.

She failed to comply with her obligations under her contract for care, Bizon said. She did not report McCallum’s death right away. Police were notified two days later, Jan. 6, he said. She tried to get the funeral home to remove McCallum’s body without a medical examination.

When a person dies, if they are not attended by a doctor, the person who discovers the death has to call 911, Bizon said.

A status conference is set for Sept. 11.

This story is copyrighted © 2017, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

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