The new attorney for Clayton Mibroda is seeking to overturn his client’s conviction for third-degree murder in the death of his infant daughter in December 2011.
Yesterday in Westmoreland County Court, Mibroda’s new lawyer, Joe Ryan, claimed that the previous attorney provided an inadequate defense, and that Judge John Blahovec erred when he refused to allow evidence that the baby’s mother was using drugs during her preganancy, and the child was born a drug addict.
20-day-old Natalee Mibroda was pronounced dead at the Indiana Regional Medical Center, where she had been taken after her mother, Kayla Lichtenfels, returned to their Bolivar home from a doctor’s appointment and found her unresponsive. Clayton Mibroda claims he initially took the blame because he wanted to protect Lichtenfels.
In addition to the argument of judicial error, the appeal claims that public defender Wayne McGrew should have petitioned to have statements to police made by Mibroda barred from being used at the trial, and he should have sought a jury from out of Westmoreland County. McGrew testified that he sought to have the blame for the newborn’s death put on Kayla Lichtenfels, but Blahovec refused to allow testimony about her drug use.
Mibroda was sentenced to as many as thirty years in prison. Yesterday, Judge Blahovec ordered attorneys for both sides to submit written arguments and said he would rule before the end of the year on whether or not to grant Mibroda a new trial.