Father gets new trial for abandoning baby

Local News

CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — A St. Joseph man, police say left his infant to die in a bean field, is getting a new trial after an error by the judge.

Thomas Boitnott was initially sentenced to 20-years in prison in his 2016 trial. But, this week, an Illinois appeals court called for a retrial.

In the 2016 trial, Judge Tom Difanis made a mistake and didn’t let Boitnott’s lawyer make a closing argument.

Police say Boitnott left his daughter, Karma, in a bean field to die in June 2015. Later, he helped lead a search team to find her. A sheriff’s deputy found her alive, but covered in mud and rain about 15-hours after she was taken.

During the trial, a psychiatrist told the court Boitnott did not understand what he was doing at the time. Still, Difanis convicted him of attempted murder and child abduction.

Tom Bruno, the attorney currently representing Boitnott, couldn’t be reached for a comment.

After the incident in 2015, Boitnott was sent to a mental health treatment center. He was declared fit to stand trial in October 2015. His new trial will be in Champaign County, in front of a new judge.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.