Judge denies Homestead couple a pretrial visit with children
By Ihosvani Rodriguez, Miami Bureau
Posted February 9 2005
A Miami-Dade County judge on Tuesday refused to allow a Homestead couple charged with starving their 5-month-old daughter to death to visit their other children.
Joseph and Lamoy Andressohn held hands during the brief hearing before Circuit Court Judge Sarah Zabel on the couple's request for supervised visits with their four children, ages 3 to 8.
A previous judge barred such visits shortly after the Andressohns were arrested and prosecutors charged them with aggravated manslaughter.
The Andressohns said through their attorney Ellis Rubin that they wanted to visit the children before their trial scheduled for May. Lamoy Andressohn, who is pregnant, expects to deliver a girl before the trial and wanted the entire family to be together, her attorney told reporters.
Their infant Woyah weighed 7 pounds when she died May 15, 2003, about 6 pounds less than she should have, an autopsy concluded. The Andressonhns have not seen their children since 2003. The state Department of Children & Families removed Woyah's siblings from the home after determining they were also malnourished.
The Andressohns claim that a birth defect, not starvation, killed their little girl.
Theodore Kaufman, a Pembroke Pines attorney appointed to represent the children in family court, told Zabel that the children want to see their parents.
"Even the two younger ones clearly remember their mom and dad, and they miss them and want to see them," said Kaufman, who visited the children recently.
Lead prosecutor Herbert E. Walker III objected to the visits, partly because the older children likely will testify during the trial. Walker said he fears the parents would manipulate the children into falsely testifying.
Walker also said that it would be cruel and traumatic for the children to see their parents before the trial only to lose contact with them if the Andressohns are convicted.
"What we are asking you is to make a compassionate ruling, and let a jury determine what happens," Walker told the judge.
Zabel said she considered allowing the younger children to see the parents but ultimately agreed with Walker. She noted that the Andressohns have not seen their children for more than 20 months and said the couple could endure waiting a couple more.
After the ruling, Lamoy Andressohn hid from television cameras by sitting alone in a hallway bench at the other end of the courthouse hallway. She openly wept.
Ihosvani Rodriguez can be reached at ijrodriguez~sun-sentinel.com or 305-810-5005.