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Mother of dead toddler to testify

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One defendant charged in a Columbus toddler’s death 15 months ago is expected to testify against the other.

Rachel C. McCue, the mother of 19-month-old victim Evan Jack McCue, will testify in the trial of her former live-in boyfriend, Thomas W. Gorski, according to court documents.

Gorski, 33, and McCue, 22, both face the following charges in the boy’s Nov. 25, 2012, death:

Neglect of a dependent resulting in death, a Class A felony.

Neglect of a dependent, a Class C felony.

If convicted on the two neglect charges, Gorski and McCue could receive up to 58 and 22 years in prison, respectively, as well as fines of up to $20,000.

The child was found lifeless and not breathing by his mother at their home in the 2800 block of Lamplight Drive, in Candlelight Village.

An autopsy concluded the boy suffered multiple injuries across his body and head. Forensic pathologist Dr. Joyce Carter concluded that the toddler suffered a fracture at the base of his skull.

A Feb. 18 trial date has been scheduled for Gorski, while a jury is expected to begin hearing the case against Rachel McCue on April 15.

Rules of ethical conduct prevent Bartholomew County Prosecutor Bill Nash from revealing whether McCue will appear as a state witness and whether a plea agreement has been offered in exchange for her testimony, Nash said following a Thursday court hearing.

Gorski defense attorney Don Edwards argued that if Rachel McCue testifies against his client, character testimony from witnesses concerning possible child abuse by the mother leading up to the toddler’s death should be heard by the jury.

“That testimony is relevant. But at this time, it may not be admissible,” Edwards told Bartholomew Circuit Judge Stephen Heimann during the hearing.

While the character witnesses are likely to include visiting relatives, the defense attorney said others might be called to offer similar testimony.

Although Heimann said he will limit character testimony concerning the mother, he asked Edwards to prepare a written argument the judge can research, so a decision can be made after Rachel McCue testifies.

During the hearing, Nash and Edwards agreed that when the jury receives an audiotape of Rachel McCue’s initial 911 call and a transcript of the call, they should be instructed to remember the tape — not the transcript — is considered evidence.

Gorski also faces other charges, including:

Two child-neglect charges involving his 3-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter from his former marriage to Laura Geilker Gorski.

Two drug charges linked to the sale of hydrocodone painkiller pills in November 2012 and an attempt to swap a pain-killing Fentanyl patch for marijuana later that month.

In October, Edwards argued in court that the child-neglect charges involving the other children and the drug charges should all be severed from the Evan Jack McCue case and go to trial separately.

However, the prosecution responded by stating it intends to show that the Gorski-McCue home was the site of frequent drug use and drug deals that put the child at risk.

Heimann denied the defense request to separate the charges.

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