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      Final steps taken in Stapleton case before trial

      Kelli Stapleton was in court for a motion hearing on Wednesday. It was all about going over testimony from witnesses that may take the stand in the trial, on September 3.

      The final steps are being taken toward the trial of a Benzie County mother accused of trying to kill herself and her teenage daughter.

      Kelli Stapleton was in court for a motion hearing on Wednesday. It was all about going over testimony from witnesses that may take the stand in the trial, on September 3.

      The court heard testimony from four witnesses who say they spoke to Kelli after the alleged crime took place last September.

      Two of the witnesses were women who work for Child Protective Services, Stacy Piasecki and Augustena Baar. They were called to Spectrum Health to talk to Stapleton after the alleged crime.

      The CPS employees testified that Stapleton told her daughter, Isabelle, that they were going to go camping and roast marshmallows. They said Stapleton told them that she drove herself and Isabelle into the woods, lit two charcoal grills and put them inside of the van and closed the windows.

      Piasecki and Baar also testified that Stapleton told them that she had given Isabelle pills so that she would go to sleep.

      "She wanted them to wake up in heaven she (Stapleton) said," said Piasecki.

      According to the witnesses Stapleton said that she was upset that Isabelle, who has autism, couldn't go to the same school that her father was principal at.

      "She stated that she knew that Isabelle's autism would always affect them and that she wanted her family to live a life free of autism, and then Mrs. Stapleton was also asked if she had these types of thoughts in the past, and she said it was always an option," said Baar.

      Jennifer Schuette, a Spectrum Health Medical Social Worker, also testified on Wednesday. Schuette said she was there to talk with Stapleton and to assess her mental health because she was reported to be suicidal.

      The final witness on Wednesday was Dr. Jill Burden, D.O., who is an employee at Munson Medical Center. Burden said she treated Stapleton when she came into the hospital before she was transferred to Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids.

      Burden testified that Stapleton had also explained to her what had happened the day of the alleged crime and that Stapleton told her she did it "to provide an easier life for her children."

      The motion hearing will continue on Thursday.