Charges in Alleged Water Therapy Death Cannnot be Raised

Charges in Alleged Water Therapy Death Cannnot be Raised

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PROVO, Utah (AP) -- A judge has ruled against prosecutors seeking to raise the charges against the couple of accused of killing their 4-year-old adopted daughter by forced water consumption from child-abuse homicide to first-degree felony murder.

However, 4th District Judge James Taylor left open the possibility that the original charges against Richard Killpack, 35, and his wife, Jennete, 27, could be dismissed and the elevated charge then could filed against them.

Taylor said Thursday that charges may be amended but not when an additional offense is added, and prosecutors were doing that in this case with a second charge of child abuse.

Prosecutor Dave Sturgill agreed to have a final decision about dismissal by the end of the month.

The couple's preliminary hearing is set for Aug. 5 and 6.

The Killpacks are accused of killing their adopted daughter Cassandra by forcing her to drink at least 2.5 liters of water as punishment for taking her younger sister's juice on June 9, 2002.

After two days of testimony in a three-day preliminary hearing in May, prosecutors put the case on hold by amending the charges from a second-degree child abuse homicide charge to first-degree felony murder and adding a third-degree child abuse charge relating to Cassandra, as well as keeping a child abuse charge for possible emotional harm to a 7-year-old biological daughter.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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