Rolston files for appeal of conviction and sentence


A former Elkhart County babysitter who battered a child that later died is appealing her conviction and sentence.

A jury convicted Jackie Rolston of battery resulting in the death of 19-month-old Kirk Coleman. She was sentenced in December to 28 years in prison. Rolston's lawyers gave two reasons why they say her conviction should be overturned.

According to court documents, they argue that the conviction is not supported by the evidence.

The state argued Rolston was the the only adult present when Coleman was injured. Rolston's lawyers argue, however, that another child could have caused those injuries.

Rolston's lawyers gave a second reason why they think Rolston's conviction should be overturned. They say the jury was exposed to photos of the toddler that caused an emotional response, and Rolston's lawyers argue that evidence denied her a fair trial.

There's another issue -- the sentencing. Her lawyers say it's unconstitutional.

They argue 28 years is too excessive, and that her character, age, and health were not taken into account at the time of sentencing.

The case led Indiana lawmakers last year to pass "Kirk's Law."

It's a database of convicted child abuse offenders. Angela Garza, the grandmother of Kirk Coleman, says the Department of Child Services told her the database should be up and running by July 1 of this year.

Garza says she thinks Rolston is just, "grasping at straws" with this appeal.

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