Attorneys agreed to push the death penalty trial of Kristen Meyer back to early 2020. Meyer, who is accused of starving her 1-year-old daughter, Tayla, with her husband, Alejandro Aleman, in 2016, is charged with first-degree murder.
WEST PALM BEACH — Kristen Meyer, the woman charged in the starvation death of her 13-month-old daughter, will not go to trial this year, lawyers agreed Tuesday morning.
Meyer, 45, is charged with first-degree murder along with her husband, Alejandro Aleman, in the April 1, 2016, death of their daughter, Tayla Aleman. Both parents, who lived in the Acreage, face the death penalty if convicted.
Though Meyer did not appear in court Tuesday, Assistant State Attorney Terri Skiles, Public Defender Carey Haughwout and Assistant Public Defender Stephen Arbuzow spoke with Circuit Judge Cheryl Caracuzzo about their agreement to push the case back to next year while they continue disposing witnesses. Caracuzzo set jury selection to begin March 13, 2020.
Testimony in the trial is expected to last about two weeks, lawyers said, but they set aside four weeks to include jury selection and a possible penalty phase if Meyer is convicted.
Prosecutors Meyer was scheduled to begin picking a jury Sept. 21. But, earlier this month, Meyer’s attorneys filed an intent to use the insanity defense. In the court document explaining their decision, attorneys wrote that Meyer suffers from bipolar disorder and "she did not know what she did was wrong or the consequences of her actions or inactions."
Meyer and Aleman, who were originally going to be tried together, are also charged with aggravated child abuse and animal cruelty for the "deplorable living conditions" their two dogs and other children were in. Investigators who went to the Acreage home after Tayla Aleman’s death said they could smell odors from the home from the end of their driveway.
The girl, who was 2 pounds lighter than when she was born when she died, had E. coli, multiple strains of influenza, the start of pneumonia and a bacteria known to cause skin infections, according to an autopsy by the Palm Beach County Medical Examiner. At the time of her death, she was the youngest of 10 children.
Meyer told investigators she was feeding her baby when the girl stopped breathing.
Aleman, who is represented by Michael Salnick, has no trial date scheduled at this time. His next court hearing is Oct. 28.