Trial Date Set For CPS Caseworker In Norris Neglect Case
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
May 25, 2004
ANDERSON, INDIANA--The trial of a former Child Protective Services caseworker who faces neglect charges over the death of Mark A. Norris II has been rescheduled, now that the state Supreme Court has refused to intervene in the case.
A judge on Monday set November 9 as the trial date for Mike Warrum. Investigators say that Warrum visited the 8-year-old boy's home only once, even though a court had ordered Mark and his siblings to be supervised.
If convicted of the felony charges, Warrum could face up to 20 years in prison.
Warrum's attorneys had asked the state's high court to order the charges be dismissed, on the grounds that the social worker did not have direct care of Norris and would not have been expected to be responsible for his death. The court denied Warrum's appeal.
Mark Norris' body was found by firefighters on January 21, 2003 after the family's home in Elwood had been destroyed by fire. Autopsy results confirmed that the boy, who used a wheelchair because of his cerebral palsy and had epilepsy, died of pneumonia at least one day before the fire. Toxicology tests found evidence that he was malnourished and had not been given prescription medications needed to treat his seizures.
Investigators had suspected that the fire was set deliberately to cover up Mark's death, but they have found no evidence of arson.
In January of this year, Jennifer L. Norris pleaded guilty to the charge of criminal neglect of a dependent resulting in her son's bodily injury. She was later sentenced to nine years in prison for neglecting to seek medical treatment or properly care for him.
"The Death of Mark A. Norris, Jr: Was fire a cover-up for his death?" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)