Eileen Blaney talks to her son on the phone, just as she does almost every day. It is the only way she can communicate with him while he is in prison.
"Alexander has days of feeling helpless," she said.
Alexander Stolte is accused of murdering his girlfriend's 1-year-old daughter, Kylie, while babysitting. Stolte says he was upstairs while the baby slept in a crib next to an unlocked door in the basement. He told police when he checked on her she was not breathing. The medical examiner concluded Kylie was beaten to death that night. Since Stolte was the only one home, prosecutors charged him with murder even though they admit there is no physical evidence linking him to the crime.
"My son is innocent," Blaney said.
Now, new DNA evidence indicates the child had also been sexually assaulted. That DNA evidence did not match Stolte. Claiming the prosecution's case is crumbling, Stolte's lawyers asked a judge to release him on bail pending trial, but Judge Harold Eaton wouldn't hear the case.
"If it had been the other side of the coin and it had been to revoke bail because of new DNA evidence, I bet you dollars to doughnuts it would have been heard," Blaney said.
"The law is not entirely clear exactly what the standard ought to be," said Cheryl Hanna of the Vermont Law School.
Judge Eaton based his decision on the fact that the original hold without bail was based on the prosecution's case, which has not changed. The Vermont Supreme Court has agreed to review the bail issue this month.
"It doesn't really surprise me that the court is taking this case because it is a bit of a close call," Hanna said.
Even with the DNA evidence, prosecutors are going forward with the murder case. Along with the DNA evidence, the defense says this was a botched investigation. According to court papers, detectives admit they never did detailed forensic testing outside the house, considered other theories or suspects.
"So now the defense has a whole lot of cross-examination and reasonable doubt that they can raise in the jury's mind," said Robin Adler of Norwich University.
The defense says the DNA evidence is a big break for them, but Adler says that does not necessarily mean Stolte is innocent.
"It is quite common that people do convicted when there is DNA from another person on the body of the deceased," Adler said.
While Stolte's mother fights for her son's freedom, she says that is only her second priority now.
"First for Kylie," Blaney said. "All of us want justice for Kylie first."
The case is scheduled to go to trial next summer.
The mother of the baby declined comment about the new evidence.
Friday, May 17 2013 7:54 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:54:10 GMT
The door to room 118 at the Liberty Inn and Suites is gone-- busted by police during an early morning drug raid. They say tenant Julie Herron, 41, was selling heroin out her room. She was living thereMore >>
A South Burlington drug bust exposed new abuses of the state's homeless voucher program. A couple was arrested for selling heroin out of their motel room, and police say the state was footing the bill for their stay.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 7:56 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:56:29 GMT
A public defender entered 34-year-old Anthony Wright's not guilty plea in the Chittenden County courthouse Friday morning. Police say a search of Wright's residence two days earlier revealed about 250More >>
A Burlington man denies drug charges after police say they stumbled upon his marijuana grow operation. It happened while authorities were investigating another alleged drug crime next door.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 7:45 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:45:07 GMT
Prosecutors in a murder case said Thursday that backups at the Vermont Forensics Lab have slowed their case, and the defense said the delays are violating their client's right to a speedy trial. So, isMore >>
Prosecutors in a murder case said backups at the Vt. Forensics Lab slowed their case; the defense said the delays violate their client's right to a speedy trial. So, is that courtroom strategy or is there really a backlog? More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 9:45 AM EDT2013-05-17 13:45:45 GMT
A trial date has been set for a Massachusetts man accused of killing a woman in southern Vermont. 31-year-old Frank Caraballo will be in court September 9. He's accused of killing Melissa Barratt inMore >>
A trial date has been set for a Massachusetts man accused of killing a woman in southern Vermont.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 12:26 PM EDT2013-05-17 16:26:55 GMT
A Vermont used car dealer is facing federal fraud charges of hiding malfunctions in the cars he sold. Prosecutors say Douglas Jordan, 40, of Wolcott, bought high-mileage used cars at auction and sold themMore >>
A Vermont used car dealer is facing federal fraud charges of hiding malfunctions in the cars he sold.More >>