WATERLOO — A Waterloo man convicted of killing his girlfriend’s 4-year-old daughter in 2015 is asking for a new trial.
Chad Allen Little, 35, submitted a motion seeking a new trial, claiming his attorney during trial didn’t want to take his case and hasn’t returned his calls since the May 7 verdict that found him guilty of first-degree murder and child endangerment causing death.
“I feel like it was set up for failure,” Little wrote in his request.
Little’s defense attorney, Thomas Gaul, also filed a motion for a new trial, arguing the judge shouldn’t have allowed testimony about Little’s prior treatment of Gracie Buss in incidents going back as far as 10 months before her death. The incidents included pulling her hair, grabbing her roughly, spanking her and calling her names.
“By allowing the state to introduce such testimony, based on a false theory that the injuries as far back as August 2014 led to the death of the child in early June 2015, the state was allowed to go back and introduce prior bad acts of the defendant toward the child that had nothing to do with the injuries that produced her death,” Gaul argued in his motion.
A hearing on the motions has been scheduled for June to coincide with possible sentencing. First-degree murder is punishable with a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.
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Paramedics were called to the child’s townhouse apartment in May 2015 and found her unresponsive, and she later died from a blunt force injury to the head.
Witnesses said Little had told them Gracie had suffered a seizure and fell down the stairs. Doctors said her injuries weren’t consistent with that explanation.
Also, Little recently petitioned the court to order jail officials to make clonazapam anxiety medication available to him. He said missing a dose can lead to seizures or death, and he said the last time he was in prison, corrections officials had tried to ween him from the medicine, a move that made him very sick.
Gracie’s mother, Kristi Buss, is awaiting trial for child endangerment in connection with the girl’s death.