Jury deliberations begin in case of Iowa Co. mother, daughter accused in teen’s death

DODGEVILLE, Wis. — The trial of an Iowa County mother and daughter accused in the 2018 death of a teenager in their care is now in the hands of the jury.

Jurors received the case of Laurie and Alexis Barry just after noon on Tuesday after the prosecution and defense made their closing arguments following a week-long trial.

The two face a felony charge of first-degree reckless homicide as a party to a crime in the death of 13-year-old Selah Kaden, who was living in the Barry home when she died in May 2018. A forensic pathologist ruled that Kaden died from suffocation and a patterned beating with blunt force, and also believed more than one person was involved in her death.

Kaden’s parents, Lisa and David, lived in North Carolina but sent her to live in Mineral Point with the Barrys due to behavioral problems at home. Both took the stand early in the trial, saying they didn’t think their daughter was in danger when they heard of problems she was having in the Barry home.

“We thought that this was a continuation of her mental health issues and that it was a continuation of her attention-seeking issues. At no time had we felt that she was in any danger,” Lisa Kaden testified.

The Barrys say Kaden had been “fake-fainting” as part of her acting out and had been intentionally falling down the stairs. They said on the day Kaden had died, they thought she was again faking an injury before they realized something was wrong. But prosecutors argued Tuesday that was not consistent with the injuries Kaden suffered.

“There’s no room for doubt in this case, certainly not reasonable doubt on who and what caused Saleh’s death. Common sense tells you that the version of what happened on May 31 as provided by Laurie and Alexis Barry isn’t what happened. Just saying it over and over again doesn’t make it any more plausible,” prosecutor Matthew Allen argued Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the defense team for Laurie and Alexis Barry argued that the prosecution did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Barrys caused Kaden’s death.

“What has the state done to suggest that these people haven’t told you the truth?” attorney Jessa Nicholson argued while disputing testimony from the prosecution’s medical expert. “He can’t even tell you what percentage he thinks he’s right. I guess at the end, I got him to agree it was 51 percent. 51 percent isn’t really close to beyond a reasonable doubt.”