Defense Attorneys Seek New Judge in Evergreen Child-Murder Case

Attorneys for the man accused of killing a 2-year-old boy made a motion to remove District Court Judge Ted O. Lympus from the case

By Justin Franz

Attorneys for the Evergreen man accused of killing his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son filed a motion on Feb. 26 to have a new judge assigned to the case.

Not long after Brandon Lee Walter Newberry pleaded not guilty to charges of deliberate homicide in the death of 2-year-old Forrest Groshelle, attorneys Vicki Frazier and Greg Rapkock filed a motion to substitute District Judge Ted O. Lympus.

According to Montana state law, each party is entitled to one judge substitution. The motion did not offer an explanation for why the defendant is seeking a new judge.

Earlier this week, Lympus approved a gag order preventing prosecutors and law enforcement from talking to the media about the case.

According to court documents, the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office received a call about an unresponsive child on Feb. 17. During the call, Newberry could be heard screaming in the background, “it’s my fault, it’s my fault.”

When police arrived, they found bruising, scratching and abrasions on Groshelle’s body. An autopsy revealed that the child had been hit multiple times in the abdomen, causing perienteritis, a laceration of the small intestine.

In an interview with sheriff’s deputies, the mother, Takara Juntunen, revealed that Newberry had been watching Groshelle on a daily basis while she was at work. Juntunen also said that her son had been vomiting blood in the preceding days, suggesting that the assault may have occurred between Feb. 11 and 17, according to police. During an interview with police, Newberry admitted that he had been “roughhousing” with the child the previous day.

If convicted, Newberry could face up to 100 years in prison. A trail has been set for April 27.

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