Carthage father chargedin 2002 death of toddler

By Debby Woodin

Globe Staff Writer

Trial for a Carthage man charged with murder in the alleged meth-related death of his son in 2002 has been delayed after his lawyer requested more time to prepare for the case.

A trial for Dennis Doubet, 34, had been scheduled to start Monday in Jasper County Circuit Court in Joplin.

Doubet is charged with second-degree murder in the death of his 11-month-old son, Zarrin Doubet, on Sept. 23, 2002. Carthage police investigators testified at an earlier hearing that the toddler died after drinking lantern fuel that had been poured into a soda bottle after Doubet allegedly made a batch of the stimulant methamphetamine at his home.

The child died at McCune-Brooks Hospital in Carthage, where he was taken after Doubet found the boy coughing and choking in the kitchen of the family's home at 418 Clevenger St.

Doubet's attorney, Dee Wampler of Springfield, last week filed a motion to delay this week's trial. Circuit Judge David Dally granted the motion, but made this docket entry in connection with the last-minute request on the long-pending case:

"Court notes defendant has filed a motion for continuance from the trial setting of January 5, 2004. The court further notes that this trial date was set by the court on July 21, 2003, and that the parties were notified in open court. Court is at a loss to explain why counsel for defendant has failed to complete discovery in this case during the five months that the case has been set."

Discovery is the procedure of gathering documents pertaining to the case, and locating and talking to witnesses.

At a hearing Monday, the defense attorney filed a motion for a change of judge. Wampler said in court that Dally presided over a juvenile matter involving the Doubet family.

Wampler also filed a motion asking that the state disclose juvenile records regarding the Doubet family and a motion asking that the judge move the case out of Jasper County.

The judge told Wampler and Assistant Prosecutor John Podleski that he would consider the motion for a change of judge. If he grants it, another judge would decide whether to require the state to disclose whatever juvenile records Wampler is seeking and decide whether publicity about the case warrants moving it to another county.

Because of those motions, a new trial date was not set.

The prosecution filed the murder charge under a rule of law that allows prosecution for murder when a death takes place during the commission of a felony. The prosecution in this case alleges that the felony was the manufacture of the drug.

Doubet is free on $25,000 bond.

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