- Associated Press - Saturday, August 13, 2016

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - A New Hampshire woman accused of killing her 3-year-old daughter will go on trial Monday, but not in front of a jury.

Katlyn Marin, of Nashua, is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter, and has opted for a bench trial, meaning a judge will decide her innocence or guilt. That doesn’t happen often in New Hampshire, said Albert “Buzz” Scherr, a professor at the University of New Hampshire School of Law.

“The general rule and judgment by most defense lawyers is that I’d rather force the prosecution to convince 12 people beyond a reasonable doubt rather than one person,” he said. “That said, there are some cases in which the defendant is using what I would call a more technical defense - the emotional feel of the case is not one that helps you in front of a jury, but as a technical matter if you interpret the law as it’s written, you don’t think the prosecution can prove behind a reasonable doubt whatever the elements of the crime are.”

Marin, 27, is accused of causing the November 2014 death of Brielle Gage, physically abusing the child over a period of time. Her attorney did not respond to a recent request for comment, but in court documents has argued that Marin’s former boyfriend may have been responsible for the toddler’s death.

Senior Assistant Attorney General Jeffery Strelzin declined to comment ahead of the trial.

In earlier court maneuvering, he won the judge’s permission to bring up allegations that Marin used heroin the night before Gage died and to introduce evidence about her relationship with her daughter.

According to prosecutors, Marin felt strong hostility toward Brielle, telling police the child “was going to be with me forever because of her problems, because she’s delayed.” Marin told police she was going to “die an old lady” with her daughter.

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