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RILEY TRIAL FACES DELAYS

Pile of motions could thwart start of murder trial set for this week

By LANE LAMBERT
The Patriot Ledger

BROCKTON - Two days before Michael and Carolyn Riley are scheduled to go on trial in the death of their 4-year-old daughter Rebecca, a stack of motions could delay the 3-year-old case yet again.

But probably only for a few days.

With jury selection set to start on Thursday and opening arguments to follow next week, Plymouth County Superior Court Judge Charles J. Hely has yet to rule on a range of issues raised by both prosecutors and the Rileys’ defense lawyers.

Motions still under consideration include:

“Everybody is ready to go to trial,” said one person involved in the case, who asked not to be identified. “But there’s a lot for the judge to decide (first).”

Rebecca died at her family’s Hull home. A state medical examiner said her death was caused by an overdose of the blood pressure medication Clonidine and the anti-seizure drug Depakote, along with an over-the-counter cold medicine.

Carolyn Riley disputes that finding. She says Rebecca died from pneumonia, claiming that she and her husband were simply following the directions of Dr. Kayoko Kifuji.

The two powerful drugs - prescribed by Dr. Kifuji, a psychiatrist at Tufts-New England Medical Center - are also used to treat bipolar disorder.

Kifuji had diagnosed Rebecca with bipolar disorder and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders when the girl was a few months older than 2. She voluntarily gave up her medical license in 2007 but was cleared to practice again last year by a grand jury and the state medical licensing board.

The Rileys were charged with first-degree murder on Feb. 7, 2007. A different Superior Court judge reduced the charges to second degree in 2008, but the state Court of Appeals restored the first-degree charge in early 2009.

Michael Riley, now 37, is serving a 21/2-year sentence in the Norfolk House of Correction, for an unrelated conviction of providing pornography to a minor. Carolyn Riley, now 35, was held in jail without bail for 20 months, then released by Hely without bail in November 2008.

Lane Lambert may be reached at llambert@ledger.com