Brittany Pilkington appears for arraignment on three capital murder charges with her attorney Marc S. Triplett on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, in Logan County Common Pleas Court in Bellefontaine, Ohio. Pilkington is charged with suffocating her three sons over a 13-month period. (Joel E. Mast/Bellefontaine Examiner via AP)

Bellefontaine mom charged with killing 3 sons not opposed to testing

Defense attorneys for the Bellefontaine mother accused of smothering her three young sons to death over a 13-month-period aren’t against genetic testing for Pilkington, according to court documents.

Prosecutors filed a motion in May requesting a blood sample from Pilkington in order to rule out genetic disorders as the cause of death for her sons.

The defense initially responded to the request, stating it violated her rights. But in a supplemental response filed last month, defense attorneys wrote, “Ms. Pilkington does not oppose the state investigating the possibility of a genetic disorder as a cause of death.”

In the same response, Pilkington’s defense requests any testing of her be done with counsel present. It also asks that if testing is done, husband Joseph Pilkington and their 5-year-old daughter are also tested, in addition to her three dead sons.

Brittany Pilkington, 23, allegedly confessed to killing 3-month-old Niall Pilkington in July 2014, 4-year-old Gavin Pilkington in April of last year, and 3-month-old Noah in August, authorities said. Pilkington pleaded not guilty to three charges of aggravated murder.

Hearings on several motions filed by the defense are set for four days, beginning Tuesday. The motions include a request to remove the death penalty specifications, to sever the charges and hold three separate trials, and to have her alleged confession to police thrown out.

Pilkington’s attorneys have submitted a request to delay the hearings, as well as the trial set to begin in October.

Both sides have argued whether the option of the death penalty should be allowed. The defense argues that a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, Hurst v. Florida, which found Florida’s death penalty laws were unconstitutional, should apply to this case. In its motion, it cites a recent Ohio case where a judge agreed the death penalty would not be allowed.

Prosecutors argue Ohio laws differ from Florida’s laws, and the death penalty should be allowed.

A recent motion filed by the defense states the charges should be split into three separate trials because one trial would be “inherently prejudicial.”

It also states the court should “withhold ruling until it has ruled on Ms. Pilkington’s motion to suppress her statements to police.”

Defense attorneys want Pilkington’s alleged confession thrown out because it was made involuntarily, according to court records.

But prosecutors disagree.

“We expect the evidence to show contrary to their assertion,” Logan County Assistant Prosecutor Eric Stewart said.

In the request to push back the start of the hearings, Pilkington’s legal team writes that more time is needed to prepare, and one of her attorneys has been caught up in another case for months.

“Normally defense wants to delay in order to help better better prepare for the case,” University of Dayton Law Professor Thaddeus Hoffmeister said.

This is the second time the defense has requested a delay to the start of trial. Pilkington’s trial was originally scheduled to begin in March, according to court documents.

Joseph Pilkington, Brittany’s husband, recently pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of having sex with his wife before they were married when she was underage. He must register as a sex offender for the next 15 years.

Thank you for reading the Dayton Daily News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to exclusive deals and newsletters.

Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Dayton Daily News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.

X