Marin waives jury trial

NASHUA – The Nashua mother accused of inflicting the injuries that led to the death of her 3-year-old daughter in November 2014 has waived her right to a jury trial, electing instead to have a judge determine her fate.

Katlyn Marin, who is charged with one count each of second-degree murder and manslaughter for allegedly abusing and ultimately causing the death of Brielle Eternity Gage, notified the court of her decision in documents filed this week by her lawyer, Nashua attorney Justin Shepherd.

"This is a knowing, intelligent and voluntary decision, reached after months of consultation with counsel," Shepherd wrote in the two-page brief filed on behalf of Marin in Hillsborough County Superior Court South.

Marin, Shepherd wrote, opted for a bench trial "after careful consideration." He noted also that he and Marin "have spent months discussing the jury trial system … and all the attendant rights."

Marin’s trial is currently scheduled to begin Aug. 15, with a pre-trial conference set for July 22. The dates may be adjusted slightly given the new development, Shepherd said Wednesday.

The reasoning behind the decision goes in large part to impartiality, Shepherd said.

"I think that in a case like this, we might have a fairer shot with a judge," he said. "The goal here is to have the most impartial trial as possible."

A bench trial follows the same format as a jury trial, the only difference being that the presiding judge delivers the verdict or verdicts after weighing the evidence and testimony presented at trial.

The notice of waiver comes on the heels of a May 26 motions hearing that Judge Charles Temple ordered closed to the public over the objections of media representatives who were present.

Temple also denied a motion by a reporter for NH1 to "unseal" the hearing.

Brielle Gage was one of Marin’s several children, and her death from what the medical examiner said was blunt-force trauma helped helped touch off a review of the state’s child-advocacy system by an outside agency that is charged with examining whether there are "systemic" problems at the Division of Children, Youth and Families.

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-6443, dshalhoup or on Twitter, @Telegraph_DeanS.