CLAYTON • A grand jury voted Wednesday that there is probable cause to send Shelby Dasher to trial for child abuse and second-degree murder for the death of her 13-month-old son, Tyler.
Dasher, 20, has been assigned to Division 9 in St. Louis county. A preliminary hearing set for today has been cancelled. Dasher's attorney, Tara Crane, has entered a not guilty plea on her behalf and waived her client's arraignment.
A scheduling conference has now been set for April 2.
Dasher stands accused of beating the toddler to death because he would not stop crying in his crib on Nov. 15. She then faked his abduction and passersby found his body near a cemetery not far from her home in Affton, according to authorities.
The grand jury added the charge of child abuse to the indictment, which states, "Dasher knowingly inflicted cruel and inhuman punishment upon Tyler by repeatedly striking him about the head and body with her fist and Tyler died as a result of the injuries sustained from this conduct."
"Facts of the case also supported the charging of abuse of a child in addition to murder in the second," said J.D. Evans, first assistant prosecuting attorney. "Sometimes we only charge an initial charge and we add additional charges if we believe they are warranted. Under these circumstances, after a review of the case, the attorney on this case felt this charge was also warranted."
The prosecuting attorney's office can file additional charges after an indictment, but Evans said that is unlikely at this point.
"If we get more information, we may go back to a grand jury to seek more charges, but at this time, we don't see anything that makes us want to do that," he said.
Crane filed a motion Monday to have Dasher's murder charge thrown out or her $500,000 cash-only bail reduced, citing delays in bringing Dasher to trial. Now that the case has moved forward, the trial court must decide whether to grant the bail motion.