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Co. attorney explains why child abuse charges against Jesseph dropped

The felony child abuse case against Adam Jesseph of Gothenburg was not winnable, according to Dawson County attorney Liz Waterman.

Jesseph, 25, was believed to have been involved in the death of 3-year-old Misty Herrin in December of 2010 but the county attorney’s office dismissed the charges, without prejudice, on Dec. 5.

That means Waterman can re-file charges if warranted.

“There were developments in the case that caused concern about whether we could win,” Waterman said. “There was additional evidence we didn’t have when the case was charged, evidence against her.”

Waterman referred to Doris Herrin, the co-defendant in the case and mother of Misty, whose trial is expected to begin in January but the county attorney said delays are possible.

Jeff Wightman of Lexington is representing Herrin.

Herrin, 28, was Jesseph’s girlfriend at the time of Misty’s death. Both were charged with felony child abuse.

“But based on the evidence we have now, I’m not comfortable taking it to trial with the expectation of getting a conviction,” Waterman said. “We’re focusing our case against the co-defendant (Herrin) which is a much stronger case.”

Waterman said having theories discounted about what happens in a criminal case is not unusual.

“There may be something that causes us to change direction from what we know on day one,” she said.

Cases like ones dealing with the death of a child are emotional, Waterman said.

“But I can only deal with the facts,” she said. “Paying attention to doing justice in cases is our primary objective.”

She noted that Jesseph still faces charges unrelated to the child abuse case. He’s charged with assaulting a confined person (while in jail) and distribution of a controlled substance.

At the time of Misty’s death, law enforcement officials said the toddler was unresponsive when taken to a local hospital on Dec. 21, 2010.

Misty underwent surgery for a brain injury and died the next day. Officials said a fall, as allegedly reported by the codefendants, didn’t cause the injuries that caused her death.

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