A jury will hear opening statements Wednesday in the murder trial of an Akron mother whose toddler died of methamphetamine poisoning.
Heather M. Lerch, 21, is on trial this week in the courtroom of Summit County Common Pleas Judge Tom Parker. A six-man, six-woman jury was seated late Monday afternoon.
Parker told jurors to expect opening statements from assistant prosecutor Gregory Peacock and defense attorney Brian Pierce Wednesday morning.
Lerch is one of four defendants accused in the drug-related death last winter of her son, 17-month-old Patrick Nicholas Lerch.
The mother sat next to her attorney in court during jury selection. She has pleaded not guilty.
One co-defendant, Allen R. Kostra, 25, pleaded guilty last week to involuntary manslaughter and other felonies, authorities said. He has agreed to testify against Lerch.
Lerch is facing 13 felony charges, including murder, involuntary manslaughter, complicity to commit murder and drug offenses, in connection with her son’s death in a suspected drug house.
Her, boyfriend Randy L. Legg, 19, and his brother, Ronald Scott Legg, 22, are awaiting trial. The brothers are charged with involuntary manslaughter, child endangering and drug offenses. Ronald Legg also is facing one count of murder.
Police say they found the toddler unresponsive when they answered a call Feb. 26 on St. Leger Avenue. He died later at Akron Children’s Hospital.
A methamphetamine lab was uncovered in the basement, police said.
An autopsy showed the cause of death was methamphetamine poisoning during a period of neglect and abuse. The boy’s death was ruled a homicide.
Phil Trexler can be reached at 330-996-3717, or email@example.com.