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Owner of day care center where boy killed seeks bench trial

The owner of a Lincolnshire day care center where a boy was murdered appeared in court Tuesday on charges that she obstructed the homicide investigation.

Judith Katz, appearing thin and frail and with a visible tremor from what her lawyer has said is a serious illness, was wheeled into a Lake County courtroom for the hearing. Her attorney asked that a judge, rather than a jury, determine the verdict in her upcoming trial.

Last November, Melissa Calusinski of Carpentersville, a former employee at Minee Subee in the Park day care center, was convicted of first-degree murder in the 2009 death of 16-month-old Benjamin Kingan of Deerfield. A jury determined Calusinski intentionally slammed the boy’s head to the floor.

Prosecutors say that Katz, who owned the day care center, which has since closed, tried to get other employees to lie about how many people were in the room at the time the boy was died.

Despite her apparent medical woes, Katz, 67, of Arlington Heights is ready to proceed with her trial, said her attorney, Jack Carriglio. Katz said she understood that she was waiving her rights to a jury trial. The trial has been set for March 12.

If convicted, Katz faces up to three years in prison.

Calusinski is due to be sentenced Thursday for the boy’s murder and faces up to life in prison. Defense attorneys for Calusinski have asked for a new trial, arguing that her confession to police was coerced during a 10-hour interrogation.

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