INDIANOLA, Iowa — One of the two family members charged with murder in the death of a Norwalk newborn earlier this year is planning to use diminished responsibility as a defense during his trial.
Court documents filed last week in Warren County revealed the strategy attorneys for Rodney Staude intend to take in his defense. The claim often means the defendant doesn’t have the mental capacity to form the intent to knowingly commit a crime at the time it was committed.
He and his daughter, Megan Staude, are charged with first-degree murder in the death of Megan’s newborn child.
The Norwalk Police Department began investigating on March 8 after Megan’s co-workers brought forward concerns about the health and safety of the baby. The newborn’s body was found in a ditch in the 5300 block of Delaware Avenue just south of Norwalk the next day.
According to court documents in the case, Megan eventually admitted to investigators she gave birth on February 24 at the family’s Norwalk home. She put the baby in a box and he cried on and off for two days, but she said she didn’t provide any care.
Megan told police she and Rodney then put the baby boy, who was still alive at the time, in a trash bag. Rodney allegedly admitted he closed the bag before discarding it in a ditch.
No trial date has been set but both are scheduled to be in court on October 2 for a pretrial conference. At that time, the judge in the case is also expected to hear arguments on a motion filed by Megan Staude to have her trial moved out of Warren County because of pretrial publicity.