- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 30, 2015

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A Kenmare woman who has pleaded not guilty in the starvation death of her 13-year-old son is scheduled to change her plea, though attorneys aren’t commenting on whether they have struck a deal that might be acceptable to the judge in the case.

Jessica Jensen, 36, last year pleaded not guilty to murder, child neglect and failure to report the death of a child in the January 2014 death of Aidan Bossingham, who authorities said weighed just 21 pounds when he died. The murder charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole.

Jensen reached a plea deal with prosecutors this past July that called for her to spend 16 years in prison but Judge Gary Lee rejected it, saying he could not agree to the terms given the evidence in the case “and the severity of the charges.”

Neither defense attorney Tyler Morrow nor prosecutor Kelly Dillon would comment Wednesday on whether there is a new plea deal in the works with a harsher sentence.

Jensen was charged in March 2014 after the state medical examiner ruled her son died from chronic starvation due to untreated juvenile appetite disorder. Jensen told investigators that her son had a hormonal growth problem and that his pituitary gland did not function properly. She also said her son would eat and then vomit and that he had not seen a doctor for several years.

Dillon has said Jensen didn’t appear to intentionally cause her son to die.

Lee on Tuesday had scheduled Jensen to stand trial next April. Friday’s change-of-plea hearing was scheduled Wednesday. Morrow declined to comment on why he and Jensen decided not to take the case to trial.

Lee last week refused Morrow’s requests to suppress evidence authorities gathered during interviews and a search of Jensen’s home before she was arrested. He also refused Morrow’s request to move the trial to eastern North Dakota because of extensive news coverage of the case in the Minot area. Lee said he first wanted to begin the process of trying to seat a jury in Ward County, to see if there were enough people there who meet juror qualifications.

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