BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — A Sullivan County judge on Monday pushed back the trial for a woman accused of killing her toddler and lying to investigators.
Megan Boswell appeared in Sullivan County General Sessions Court at 9 a.m., where her legal counsel, Brad Sproles, requested that the trial get pushed back to February as fingerprints have been found on a “crucial” piece of evidence.
The nature of the evidence was not revealed. District Attorney Barry Staubus agreed with Sproles that the TBI lab results require more time.
“I think that they have a real basis to ask for this expert, and we have to admit that through no fault of our own, we were late in getting these forensic reports back, and because of that, it’s created a situation where Mr. Sproles is asking for additional time for this expert,” Staubus said in the courtroom.
“That’s going to take some time, probably, to hire an expert, have an analysis done,” he continued.
Judge Jim Goodwin reset the trial, originally scheduled for Sept. 26, to take place on Feb. 6, 2023 at 8:30 a.m. He noted that he could have kept the initial September date; however, this may have resulted in a retrial.
“I don’t have any choice but to grant the motion,” Goodwin said. “I can force you to trial in September, but everybody in this courtroom knows that if I do that, and the state gets a conviction, we just have to retrial.”
Goodwin set the next motion hearing for Sept. 23, which will entail all further motions other than the possible change of venue. That hearing has been set for Dec. 16 at 1:30 p.m.
Sproles told News Channel 11 that he believes the large amount of coverage surrounding the murder case will move the trial outside the area.
“I feel like that it ultimately will be changed,” he said. “I think the judge will make us jump through some hoops to try to get a jury seated here in Sullivan County, but my opinion is there’s just been so much coverage…it’s going to be hard.”
He also touched based on picture evidence provided to the defense by the state.
“…There are over half of them that I do object to, so we’re going to have to ask the judge to determine whether the prejudicial effect of those pictures outweighs their probative value,” Sproles said.
Boswell, according to her legal counsel, has remained cooperative and “[keeps] up with the evidence on her own” in preparation. Sproles described Boswell as “stable” and “engaging” in a News Channel 11 interview outside the courtroom.
During Monday’s hearing, Boswell, who masked up, did not speak.
The full hearing is available below.
News Channel 11 spoke with the district attorney following the hearing. Staubus said the pushed trial date was necessary.
“…We’d furnished information to the defense counsel, and they wanted to obtain an expert to review the materials that we provided to them, and I just don’t think that report and that work could have been done before trial,” he said.
Staubus mirrored Goodwin’s concerns regarding the possibility of a retrial if the case had not been delayed.
“If we would’ve gone ahead and gone to trial and these results weren’t finished, it could result in a retrial, and none of us want a retrial of this case with the length that this case would take.”
Boswell remains in the Sullivan County Jail on a $1 million bond; the court denied a request from the defense in January to lower it. Sproles said Monday that requesting a bond reduction again is not out of the picture, but the defense does not deem it too important as the trial nears.
“I’m not saying ‘no,’ but that’s lower down on the list of priorities in the next seven months, so we could…” he said. “I won’t rule it out, but it’s certainly not top of the list.”
She was charged in 2020 for killing her daughter, 15-month-old Evelyn Mae Boswell, whose remains were found on a family member’s property. Circumstances surrounding Evelyn’s death have not been revealed as prosecutors prepare for the trial.