Judge delays trial for 4 charged in death of toddler who drank drain cleaner

Defense might ask for separate trials in Wayne co. case

bestep@herald-leader.comSeptember 15, 2011 

The trial for four people charged in connection with the death of a Wayne County boy who drank drain cleaner has been delayed until April.

Jury selection was scheduled to begin Wednesday, but Circuit Judge Vernon Miniard Jr. granted a request by defense attorneys to continue the trial.

Defense attorneys raised concerns related to trying the four people together, said the prosecutor, Commonwealth's Attorney Matthew Leveridge.

The case involves the death of Kayden Branham, who was 20 months old when he died in May 2009.

He drank drain cleaner that had been left out after people allegedly used the chemical in making methamphetamine at the small mobile home outside Monticello where the boy and his parents had been staying.

The four people who had been scheduled to go to trial Wednesday were Kayden's father, Bryan Daniels; the boy's grandfather, Larry Branham; Danny Ray Anderson II, Kayden's great-uncle; and James Hunt.

Daniels, Anderson and Hunt are charged with murder, child endangerment, making meth; and engaging in organized crime, according to court records.

Branham is charged with child endangerment, complicity to make meth and taking part in organized crime.

The four have maintained their innocence.

Two other adults originally charged in the case, Wesley Bell and Alisha Dicken, pleaded guilty to meth charges.

Kayden's mother, Alisha Branham, who was 14 when her son died, pleaded guilty in juvenile court, records indicate.

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