Special Reports

More on the Robert Manwill case: What is the official cause of death? Will Ada County prosecutors seek the death penalty for either Ehrlick or Jenkins?

What is the official cause of death for Robert Manwill?

Ada County Coroner Erwin Sonnenberg says the 8-year-old boy died frominjuries associated with blunt force trauma. A grand jury indictmentindicates the boy suffered internal bleeding in the abdomen and head andswelling of the brain from that trauma, which led to his death.

The indictment also says there is evidence Robert Manwill was beaten by hismother’s boyfriend, Daniel E. Ehrlick, with “escalating violence” over aperiod of time between June and July 24, 2009, before those injuries killedthe boy.

Did Robert Manwill die on July 24, when he was reported missing, and was hedead before he was placed in the New York Canal?

Sonnenberg said the July 24 time frame fits the evidence but would not givea specific date of death.

Sonnenberg said he was not releasing any information about if the child wasdead before he was left in the canal, citing the ongoing nature of criminalcase against Melissa Jenkins and Daniel Ehrlick.

Will Ada County prosecutors seek the death penalty for either Ehrlick orJenkins?

Ada County Prosecutor Greg Bower said Wednesday his staff has 60 days tomake that decision - much of which will depend on what kind of mitigatingevidence defense attorneys provide to prosecutors as they swap discovery onthe case.

It’s the prosecutor’s job to determine if the aggravating factors exist fora jury to sentence someone to death, like if the killing was heinouslycruel, the defendant has a propensity to commit murder, or if the killershowed an utter disregard for human life.

It’s up to defense attorneys to find the mitigating factors a jury mightconsider to spare a life, like if the defendant suffers from mental illnessor was a victim of child abuse themselves.

Read more in Thursday's Idaho Statesman