BATAVIA, Ohio – A woman went on trial Monday with the start of jury selection in the murder of her 3-year-old foster son, who died after he was wrapped in a blanket and left alone in a closet.
Liz Carroll reported the developmentally disabled boy missing from a suburban Cincinnati park after she and her husband left him in the closet while they traveled to Kentucky for a family reunion.
Carroll, 30, and her husband, David Carroll Jr., 29, have pleaded not guilty to murder in a case that has led to calls for reform in Ohio's foster care system. David Carroll, set to stand trial March 19, also is charged with gross abuse of a corpse.
Potential jurors were told Monday to refrain from reading or watching media accounts of the case and not to discuss it outside of their jury duties.
Liz Carroll acknowledged to a grand jury days after the boy was reported missing in August that he had been left in the closet and died, but she said she had no intention of hurting him, according to a transcript of her testimony.
Prosecutors allege that David Carroll took the body of Marcus Fiesel to a rural area of southwest Ohio, burned it and dumped most of the remains into the Ohio River. Some small, charred bone fragments were recovered near a crude, outdoor fireplace, but DNA tests to identify them were inconclusive.
A judge has ruled the typically secret grand jury testimony can be presented at trial because the transcript showed prosecutors repeatedly told Liz Carroll she could stop answering questions at any time, and that if she answered she could be charged with a crime based on what she said.
Since the boy's death, the state has moved to revoke the license of the private agency that helped place him with the Carrolls, who are also charged with kidnapping, felonious assault and child endangering. Last week, Lifeway For Youth said it would no longer fight the decision and will stop doing business in Ohio.
The Carrolls also face trial on lesser charges, including perjury and inducing panic, in Hamilton County, where they told authorities Aug. 16 that Marcus wandered off or had been taken from a park during an outing with Liz Carroll.
Hundreds of volunteers spent days combing the area surrounding the park. Liz Carroll begged the public to continue looking even after authorities called off their search. By then, authorities say they had already begun investigating the Carrolls' role in the boy's disappearance.
Prosecutors have said the Carrolls' live-in companion, Amy Baker, provided information leading to the couple's indictments. She is among 14 people on the state's list of potential witnesses for Liz Carroll's trial.