Klapheke Case: Pre-trial hearing leads to debate about specific evidence

Klapheke hearing deals with what evidence can be presented in trial

ABILENE, Texas - Preliminary court proceedings began Friday in the trial for Tiffany Klapheke, 23.

Attorneys on both sides debated during her pre-trial hearing about how relevant her surviving daughters are in the child death case against her.

Klapheke was arrested Aug. 29, 2012 after she called 911 the day before to report her toddler, Tamryn, was unresponsive at their home on Dyess Air Force Base. According to an autopsy, the toddler was dehydrated, malnourished and had suffered chemical burns from her own waste.

Jury selection is set to begin Monday, Sept. 30. 

During the hearing Friday, Klapheke's defense attorney David Thedford and District Attorney James Eidson debated about whether the court should admit evidence about Klapheke's surviving children, Tatum and Taberlee.

Thedford urged 104th District Court Judge Lee Hamilton to not allow that evidence. He said the case against Klapheke concerns only Tamryn's death. Eidson, on the other hand, argued the evidence concerning the two girls is relevant to the case because they were present in the Klapheke home leading up to Tamryn's death.

Judge Hamilton said the debate may be revisited during the trial, or Eidson can choose to give notice of "extraneous offenses" under a legal rule called 404(b).

Also during the hearing, Thedford withdrew a previous request for an application for probation. He also made a motion to ask Eidson to hand over the criminal history of each state witness. Eidson said he is not required to look into that matter and Judge Hamilton agreed that was not in his instructions.

Eidson and Thedford also added an additional expert witness to the list. Thedford additionally requested to examine the expert witnesses and get a copy of statements from the state's witnesses and any documents they examine as a reference in their testimony.

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