Table of Contents
Melissa Calusinski Update 2021
Melissa Calusinski, convicted of killing a toddler in 2009 and serving an 18-year prison term, has drawn national attention. She maintains her innocence, with a lawyer agreeing to represent her during any appeal proceedings.
A Lake County judge has ordered Melissa Calusinski’s attorneys to present new evidence in her murder trial for the death of 16-month-old Benjamin Kingan. This comes after Calusinski’s attorneys claimed prosecutors suppressed crucial information that could have helped their client.
At her interrogation, Calusinski denied any wrongdoing and claimed she had simply pushed the boy into a bouncy chair where he was struck by a ball. Yet a blood sample taken from the boy after his death revealed high levels of iron, suggesting preexisting injuries to his head which Calusinski could not have caused.
Her defense attorneys contend she made a false confession and was coerced into making it by police. In a motion filed last year, Calusinski’s attorneys cite medical experts who question the prosecution’s reliance on her confession.
Paul and Cheryl Calusinski, her parents, have worked tirelessly for Calusinski’s release due to the stress her conviction has caused them. They visit their daughter twice a month at Logan Correctional Center downstate; this visit costs them more than $300 per month.
Paul and his family proudly display a large picture of their daughter outside their home, and Paul acknowledges they receive support from friends and neighbors around the globe. Additionally, they contribute money to the commissary for her phone privileges and other needs while in prison.
Calusinski has been able to elicit widespread public sympathy for her case, yet progress in court has been slow. In November 2011, Calusinski was found guilty of first-degree murder for Kingan’s death; she remains incarcerated and has served six years behind bars, with an increase in sentence likely after the Illinois Supreme Court declined to hear it.