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Newton man charged in son’s death to appear in court Monday

Published: Friday, Jan. 3, 2014 11:00 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Jan. 3, 2014 2:25 p.m. CDT

A Newton man charged with first-degree murder and child endangerment resulting in death in connection with the death of his 5-month-old son will be in Jasper County District Court on Monday in preparation for trial currently scheduled to begin later this month.

Joseph Edward Olea, 25, has been held without bond since his arrest in July of 2012 while awaiting trial. The case has since been continued six times, most recently at the request of the Jasper County Attorney’s Office due to the availability of an expert witness.

Olea is alleged to have “intentionally used unreasonable force” against his son, Kaiden, on Jan. 10, 2012. Kaiden, who was born July 15, 2011, died Jan. 15, 2012, at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines. Following a seven-month investigation, it was determined by the Iowa State Medical Examiner’s Office that Kaiden died as the result of blunt-force injuries to his head and neck.

His death was ruled a homicide by medical investigators.

The child’s mother, Chelsea Jo Miller, was charged with child endangerment resulting in death. She is next scheduled to appear in Jasper County District Court on Monday, Feb. 3, for a pretrial hearing ahead of her own trial date.

Miller and Olea lived together in an apartment in the 200 block of East 28th Street North in Newton at the time of the incident leading to Kaiden’s death. The Newton Police Department was called to that apartment Jan. 10, 2012, to investigate a suspected incidence of child abuse.

Police found Kaiden had suffered serious injury, and he was transported to Skiff Medical Center. From there, he was airlifted to Blank Children’s Hospital.

Miller was charged because she left Kaiden in the sole care of Olea from about 6 a.m. until the time the child was taken to the hospital. Olea was charged because Kaiden’s injuries were alleged to have happened under his care.

It is further alleged Miller had knowledge of Olea’s “violent tendencies” but allowed him to be Kaiden’s sole caregiver. Online court records show Olea was sentenced to juvenile detention in August of 2003 for a drug violation and was sentenced to the Eldora State Training School for Boys in November of 2004 for second-degree theft and drug violation convictions.

In setting the trial date at the last continuance in October, Jasper County District Court Judge Terry Rickers noted he was “troubled” by the length of time it had taken to get to trial. It is unlikely another continuance will be granted.

Trial in the case is currently scheduled to begin Tuesday, Jan. 21.

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