New defense attorney appointed to Chritton child abuse case - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

New defense attorney appointed to Chritton child abuse case


MADISON (WKOW) -- A new defense attorney has been appointed to the on-going Madison child abuse case.

Madison criminal defense attorney Jessa Nicholson confirms to 27 News that last week she was appointed to represent Chad Chritton in a possible re-trial.

Shortly after the three-week long trial, Chritton's former attorney William Hayes asked to be excused from the case because of what he called a financial burden that would have put his office out of business. Judge Julie Genovese granted that request.

In March, a jury was deadlocked on four of six charges against Chritton. He's accused of severely neglecting and starving his teenage daughter. The then 15-year-old girl was found in February of 2012 after escaping from Chritton's home. Authorities say she weighed less than 70 pounds.

A jury found Chritton guilty of felony child neglect and not guilty of misdemeanor child neglect. The case ended in a mistrial on four other counts including false imprisonment, recklessly endangering safety, child abuse and causing mental harm-- all felonies.

District Attorney Ismael Ozanne has said a retrial is possible but has not indicated whether a plea deal could be reached.

Nicholson said Tuesday she anticipates the case will go to a re-trial, and said Chad Chritton is looking forward to getting back in court.

In early April, Chritton's wife, Melinda Drabek-Chritton, agreed to a plea deal after facing the same seven charges as her husband. She was found guilty of recklessly endangering safety and causing mental harm to her stepdaughter. She's scheduled to be sentenced in late July.

Chad Chritton will be in court again with his new attorney on May 21 to discuss scheduling.

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