GREENFIELD — Taxpayers, it turns out, will not pay for Josh Stryzinski’s defense attorney as the young father makes his way through the court system on a neglect charge following the death of his daughter.
Stryzinski, 18, has hired a private attorney, Bob Elsea of Greenfield, to represent him, court records show.
Stryzinski was initially assigned a taxpayer-funded public defender following his arrest July 7, the day he found 4-month-old Chloe Stryzinski in the backseat of his car, where she’d been left for hours in sweltering heat.
But Hancock County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Tami Napier balked at the notion taxpayers should foot the bill for Stryzinski’s legal fees, given that a relative posted his $50,000 cash bond after Stryzinski told the court he was indigent.
Napier’s motion to have Jim McNew, Stryzinski’s public defender, removed from the case went before Special Judge Kit Crane of Henry County last week.
Before Crane could rule on the motion, McNew withdrew as Stryzinski’s legal counsel and was replaced by Elsea, court records show.
Crane declined to comment on whether he would have ruled in the prosecutor’s favor and ask for McNew’s removal.
Elsea could not be reached for comment.
Stryzinski told investigators he became confused about who was caring for his daughter and forgot she was in the backseat of his 2002 Saturn July 7.
The baby was pronounced dead at Hancock Regional Hospital after at least three hours in the car. The temperature outside that day was 104 degrees.
Stryzinski discovered Chloe in the car when he went to pick up her mother up from work after spending time at his parents’ house, according to court documents.
He told police he had gotten mixed up and thought a friend had his daughter, saying, “The normal routine is that someone is always watching my kid.”
A Class A felony neglect charges carries a penalty to 20 to 50 years and $10,000 in fines.
Stryzinski returns to court Sept. 6.