JEFFERSON -- A trial date was set Wednesday for a man accused of raping and murdering a baby in Conneaut in 2017.
Joshua Gurto, 40, faces two counts of aggravated murder, three counts of murder, and single counts of rape, domestic violence and felonious assault after being arrested in the murder of 18-month-old Sereniti Jazzlyn-Sky Sutley who died from blunt trauma to her head and trunk at a Conneaut apartment. A jury trial was set for Aug. 4, according to court records.
Gurto had originally faced a death penalty specification with the charges, which was dropped by prosecutors after the child’s mother, Kelsie Blankenship, was indicted and arrested in the case last year.
Blankenship, who has a trial date of May 18, faces two counts of murder, single counts of felonious assault and child endangerment and two counts of domestic violence.
Blankenship’s attorneys are currently seeking to have Judge Marianne Sezon suppress certain evidence in her case, a ruling which has yet to be made.
Defense attorneys have made the case that prosecutors should not have obtained search warrants to access Blankenship’s medical records and that motions through the court should have been made to access such information. Judge Thomas Harris did not have the authority to sign off on search warrants, the defense has said, since Blankenship had already been indicted and her case assigned to Sezon.
Prosecutors have said search warrants were sought for the medical records to obtain specific evidence of Blankenship’s motive and intent in the murder of her daughter, specifically that she had made statements to medical professionals about a desire to kill her child.