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Death of Kristen Bury could affect husband's trial

Posted at 9:34 PM, Sep 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-12 06:55:49-04

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Sarasota County deputies are investigating after finding the mother of Baby Chance dead in her jail cell. Investigators believe 33-year-old Kristen Bury committed suicide, and it could cause a ripple effect on the trial for her husband, Joseph Walsh..

Bury and her husband, Joseph Walsh were both in jail. Bury was serving a 25-year sentence after taking a plea deal to testify against her husband during his trial.

Sarasota deputies say Bury watched as Walsh beat baby Chance to death then buried him last September. 

But after her death at the Sarasota County Jail, Kristen Bury's role in the Joseph Walsh murder trial took a turn the State's  Attorney's Office couldn't predict.  "Not having a witness can definitely hinder the state's case and potentially help the defense," said Abizer Ghadiali, a defense attorney not involved in the case.

Ghadiali tells 4 In Your Corner that Bury's death has ramifications for Walsh's upcoming murder trial.  "Her testimony was probably going to be one of the heavier pieces of evidence that the state would have relied on in order to get a conviction of the husband," said Ghadiali.

Bury agreed to a plea deal back in January to testify in her husband's murder trial. But now, the State has to find a way to push forward without their star witness.

"A piece of their puzzle being removed they are going to have to reevaluate and see if we have enough here to continue, move forward and continue with the prosecution," said Ghadiali.

Bury's death means the loss of direct evidence. This will force the state to rely more on circumstantial evidence. Thus making it tougher for the State to prove beyond a reasonable doubt Walsh murdered baby chance.

"I think a jury, they have less to hang their hat as far as evidence goes," he said.

Since Bury will no longer be there to counter the defense's arguments, "it leaves the defense free if they weren't already going to do so to just say, 'Hey, it was all her! It was her idea, it was her this, it was her that'," said Ghadiali.

Ghadiali thinks Bury's death will prompt the State Attorney's Office has to go back to the drawing board to see if the case can still go to trial. Joseph Walsh's murder trial is slated to begin on November 14th.