Second autopsy requested for girl allegedly killed by New Haven stepmother
The attorney for a New Haven woman accused of sexually assaulting and killing her 2-year-old stepdaughter said he will seek an independent autopsy as he begins to prepare a defense for her in court.
Renee King, 28, is being held without bond in Macomb County Jail after being charged in the Nov. 20 death of Lily Furneaux-Wolfenbarger. Police and prosecutors said the child died from blunt force trauma to the head and had been sexually assaulted.
At a brief hearing Monday in 42nd District Court in New Baltimore, defense attorney Richard Glanda requested an adjournment in order to give him time to review more than 90 pages of police and medical examiner reports.
“I’d like to get a second opinion through an autopsy from an independent medical examiner from outside the county, hired by me,” Glanda said outside of court.
The official autopsy was conducted by Macomb County Medical Examiner Dr. Daniel Spitz, who has come under criticism for failing to detect a bullet wound in the head of a Mount Clemens banker whose body was found in Lake St. Clair.
Glanda said he wanted the second autopsy in part because of the Spitz criticism but also to have another review of the child’s body.
King is charged with felony murder, which is punishable by up to life in prison upon conviction; first-degree child abuse, a 15-year felony, and first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving penetration with injuries involving a child below the age of 13, a life felony that carries a minimum of 25 years in prison.
According to police and prosecutors, King was alone with the child in the home King shared with the girl’s biological father. The child lived in Lapeer with her biological mother, Lauren Furneaux, and had been visiting the father’s home for the weekend when she died.
Police claim King used multiple objects to insert into the child’s vagina, tearing away at the skin, before using an unknown object to strike her in the head, killing her.
But King maintains the child’s death was an accident.
She has a pre-existing medical condition that often caused her knees to buckle, her attorney said.
“Her recounting of this is she had the child in the shower and slipped and the child fell,” Glanda said. “She lost her balance because of her knees while she was holding Lily in the shower.”
Glanda said he has yet to receive an explanation for the injuries the child allegedly suffered from the sexual assault.
Glanda said King’s husband, Jeff Wolfenbarger, remains supportive of her although he was not in court Monday. Her three children from another relationship are being cared for by relatives, Glanda said.
Therese Tobin, chief trial attorney for the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office in court said her office is still waiting for additional documents including toxicology reports from the medical examiner to provide to the defense attorney before a preliminary exam can be held.
King waived her right to having the hearing within 14 days as required by law. The hearing will be held at 9 a.m. Jan. 24, according to 42nd District Court Judge William H. Hackel III.
About 42 supporters of Lily — including Lauren Furneaux and her mother, Lynette Furneaux — appeared in court wearing white shirts that had the message “Justice For Lily” on the front and “Fight to Infinity and Beyond” on the back. They declined to comment.