A Lincoln County woman accused of killing her son in June 2019 is set for trial in April, according to the Lincoln Ledger newspaper.
Mary Black, 31, is charged with capital murder in the death of Joseph Carsello, 11, of Star City. Black’s husband, David Black, 39, has pleaded guilty in the case and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
A pretrial hearing on the case is set for Feb. 1 and the trial is set to begin April 8. Currently, the Arkansas state Supreme Court has halted all trials in the state because of the COVID-19 pandemic until at least February and could possibly extend that order as new cases of the virus continue to increase.
The boy was found unresponsive in a camper the family was living in and Mary and David Black admitted they had beaten the child over a two-day period and said he had fallen and hit his head on a toolbox. The State Medical Examiner’s Office ruled that the death was a homicide and caused by blunt force trauma. The report said the medical examiner found multiple impact sites on the head, scalp contusions with no skull fracture, subdural hemorrhaging, bruising on the torso, hemorrhaging on the torso, lacerations of the liver and hemorrhaging of the pancreas and small bowel as well as multiple bruises to his body surface including buttocks, lower back, upper thigh and face.
William O. “Bill” James of the James Law Firm of Little Rock, who was appointed to represent Mary Black has filed a motion for a continuance and has also filed a notice of intent to rely on the defense of mental disease or defect and ask the court to order a criminal responsibility examination and opinion which the court agreed to last July.
The newspaper said a psychiatrist at the Arkansas State Hospital examined Mary Black and said in their opinion, at the time of the alleged offense, Mary Black did not display evidence of a mental disease or defect.
The case will be heard by First Division Circuit Judge Alex Guynn and Prosecuting Attorney S. Kyle Hunter said the death penalty has been waived. If she is convicted of capital murder, Mary Black would be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.