Slain Nebraska girl's twin cast blame on different man, defendant's lawyer says in motions

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GERING, Nebraska — Motions filed on behalf of a man accused in the 2008 death of a 2-year-old western Nebraska girl say the girl's twin sister cast blame at the time on a different man.

Dustin Chauncey, 28, has been charged with child abuse resulting in the death of Juliette Geurts at her home in Gering. He's pleaded not guilty.

Motions filed by Chauncey's lawyer say Juliette's sister, Jaelyn, shared a bedroom with her twin and that Jaelyn "spontaneously told her maternal grandmother, Lynn Baum," that another man in the house spanked Juliette because she was naughty and would not go to bed. The motion also says Jaelyn told her paternal grandmother, Mary Jo Geurts, that Juliette was dead and that the other man killed her.

The Associated Press is not naming the man because he has not been charged.

Nothing in the case file suggests that the defense intends to call Jaelyn Geurts to the stand, but the grandparents could be required to testify. Baum is already listed as a witness.

The prosecution has said it will show at trial DNA and other evidence that suggests that Chauncey committed the abuse that resulted in Juliette's death.

Chauncey was the boyfriend of the girls' mother, Charyse Geurts, at the time of the girl's death. The case languished without arrests until a public petition drive in 2012 gathered enough signatures to force an investigation by a grand jury. The grand jury indicted Chauncey on charges of manslaughter, providing false information and child abuse resulting in death early last year. The girl's mother was indicted on accessory and false reporting charges.

A judge later dismissed the charges against the girls' mother and all but the abuse charge against Chauncey because the statute of limitations had run out.

Chauncey's trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 27.

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