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Hearing is delayed on a motion to release Butcher until sentencing


A hearing on a motion to release North Laurel day care provider Kathleen A. Butcher until her July sentencing for manslaughter, child abuse and assault convictions was postponed yesterday because trial Judge Raymond J. Kane Jr. had a family emergency, court officials said.

The hearing has been rescheduled for tomorrow morning.

Butcher, 37, was convicted after a three-week trial in March on charges related to the death of 15-month-old Alexa Shearer in November 1999. In court papers, her lawyers argue that Butcher, who is pregnant with her fifth child, needs better prenatal care and should be released pending sentencing. Prosecutors say she has been given proper care and has seen her personal obstetrician while in jail.

Butcher's bond was revoked after a jury found her guilty of the three charges; jurors deadlocked on the more serious second-degree murder charge. She could receive a maximum of 40 years in prison.

Her conviction has continued to spark interest among Howard County residents and prompted more than two dozen letters to the court from family and friends, as well as people who say they don't know either family.

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