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Parents waive jury trial

Baltimore — The Rodgers Forge, Md. husband and wife accused in the starvation death of their 2-year-old son waived their rights to a jury trial in Baltimore County Circuit Court.

John and Susan Griffin instead will have their cases heard by Judge Timothy J. Martin, who granted the waivers on Dec. 8 after the Griffins were each briefly questioned by defense lawyers. The trial is scheduled to begin in Feb. 17.

Joseph Murtha, John Griffin’s lawyer, said following the hearing that there were no “collective discussions” between the two defendants about proceeding with a non-jury trial, although each side knew of the other’s intention.

John Griffin’s decision was based on the nature of the charges against him and a desire to ensure an “emotionally charged” case is decided only on the facts, said Murtha, of Miller, Murtha & Psoras LLC in Lutherville.

“We believe there are serious legal issues that will be deliberated,” he said.

Edward T. Barry and Michelle Moodispaw, Susan Griffin’s public defenders, did not return calls seeking comment.

The Griffins are each charged with first-degree murder in the death of Andrew Griffin, who weighed only 13 pounds when he died Dec. 26.

Susan Griffin, 38, remains in jail on $1 million bail; John Griffin, 39, was released in May on $100,000 bond.

The Griffins’ trial originally was scheduled for October, but was postponed so that defense lawyers could obtain a medical file related to the case. Martin told the defense lawyers and Assistant State’s Attorney Garret Glennon that his goal is to complete the trial in February.

“I really want to hold everyone’s feet to the fire,” the judge said.

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