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June 22, 2009 11:57 AM

Jury Selection Underway In Dierks Case


Jury selection is underway in the case of a former Sioux Falls child care provider accused of seriously hurting a six-month-old baby in her care.


Nearly 160 people are being considered to fill the jury for this case. A group of 30 came in this morning, and three other batches of people are being addressed throughout the day.

Amy Dierks, 29, is charged with aggravated assault. She's pleaded not guilty to the crime, but if jurors convict her of hurting baby Henry Johnson, Dierks faces up to 25 years in prison.

The case dates back to November of 2007. According to court papers, Dierks admitted to losing her temper because Johnson was crying. She told police she shook him and threw him to the ground. But those statements will not be used in the trial. A circuit judge threw them out, late last year, saying detectives used coercive tactics and suggestions to get Dierks to talk.

Initially, doctors weren't sure if baby Henry would survive. He was in intensive care in a coma-like state with serious head injuries. He eventually was released from the hospital and is back home with his family.
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