GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A father who was charged with the murder of his baby is seeking an insanity defense.
Seth Welch and Tatiana Fusari, the child’s mother, were charged with felony murder and child abuse and face mandatory life in prison if convicted.
The charges stem from the Aug. 2, 2018, death of their 10-month-old-daughter Mary at the family’s home near Cedar Springs. Welch allegedly waited 90 minutes to call 911 after his wife discovered the child dead in her crib. When he finally did authorities, he said Mary was as “dead as a doornail.”
The medical examiner ruled that Mary died of dehydration and said she weighed about 8 pounds, the size of a newborn. Investigators say she slept on a filthy mattress covered with mold in a house that was filled with garbage and flies.
Welch’s new defense attorney, Charles Clapp, notified the court that they intend to pursue an insanity defense.
Fusari is seeking an independent review of her medical records to determine if she was suffering from a parvovirus at the time of Mary’s death. A parvovirus, which can cause dehydration, could have been passed on to the infant.
Welch told News 8 days after his arrest that the charges against him were persecution for his strong faith in Jesus Christ. Court records show he and his wife cited religious beliefs as the reason they did not to seek help.
Both of the defendants have undergone psychiatric exams and have been found competent to stand trial.
Fusari will be in court Friday, where she could be offered a plea agreement. She is expected to go to trial Feb. 3.
Welch’s trial date is set for Jan. 21.