Case Update: Trial for Dawson McKinney’s Mother Rescheduled (And Other Updates)

Dawson Jace McKinney
Dawson Jace McKinney. (Facebook)

The jury trial has been rescheduled for 27-year-old Danielle Marie Radue, who is accused of murder in the death of her two-month-old son, Dawson Jace McKinney. 

First, a quick recap of the case as I’ve covered it thus far:

On May 11, 2020, tiny Dawson was rushed from the family’s home in Meridian, Idaho to St. Luke’s Hospital in Boise with severe head injuries, which included bleeding on the brain, retinal injuries, and a skull fracture.  Police say the details of the story his mother, Danielle, gave did not add up, and the same evening, Danielle was arrested on suspicion of felony injury to a child.

Danielle Radue's booking photo/mugshot
Danielle Radue’s booking photo.
(Ada County Sheriff’s Office)

A no contact order was issued against Danielle on May 12.

Sadly, Dawson died in the arms of his daddy, Adam McKinney, after several days in the pediatric ICU on the evening of Friday, May 15, 2020. After Dawson’s death, Danielle, who had been released from jail, was rearrested, her charge amended to first-degree murder. Her bond was set at $1 million by Ada County Magistrate Judge John Hawley. 

On August 3, 2020, Danielle appeared in court via video from the Ada County Jail, entering a plea of not guilty. At the same hearing, Danielle’s attorney, Edwina Elcox, requested that Fourth District Judge Patrick Miller, who will oversee Danielle’s trial, reduce her client’s bond so Danielle could enter a local hospital for inpatient treatment of mental health issues; Judge Miller denied the request, saying that although Danielle was a low flight risk, the murder charge was an “overwhelming factor.”

Dawson McKinney
Dawson McKinney.

Danielle could face life in prison or the death penalty if convicted. Prosecutor Kai Wittwer has not yet announced whether or not capital punishment will be sought.

Now, the updates:

On August 10, 2020, Danielle posted a $1 million surety bond and was released from the Ada County Jail. There is no word on whether or not she was admitted to a hospital for mental health treatment. There have been rumors that Danielle may have suffered from postpartum depression or postpartum psychosis at the time of Dawson’s murder; it is also rumored that the baby’s mortal injuries occurred when his mother threw him across the room, but that has not been confirmed.

Then, on September 14, a motion was entered for a no contact order against Danielle, presumably restricting her from contacting Adam. The order was granted on September 21. I have no information on the events that led to this, but Danielle was charged on October 11 with a violation of the no contact order, to which she entered a not guilty plea. That case is separate from the murder case and is still pending. The judge assigned to that case is Judge Michael Lojek.

Adam McKinney holding injured son Dawson
Adam holding his precious son.

Subsequently, on October 16, Adam McKinney filed pro se (without an attorney) for a divorce from Danielle. It’s heart-wrenching that he had to file for a divorce “without minor children,” as Dawson was the couple’s only child. 

On the same day, a joint restraining order regarding property was issued for both Danielle and Adam, but that is standard in Idaho and simply prevents either party in a divorce from selling, transferring, or concealing any joint property or funds during the divorce process. 

My heart goes out to Adam, who is a former U.S. Marine and, by all accounts, a genuinely good guy who absolutely adored his only child. 

On November 13, a motion was entered to revoke and increase Danielle’s bond, to which Danielle’s attorney objected; ten days later, the no contact order was modified, although there are no details to be found on the cause. I would assume it has everything to do with her alleged violation of the order in October. 

In December, Danielle’s defense entered a motion to seal documents in the case, which was granted on December 18. 

Danielle Radue at arraignment
Danielle at her arraignment via video on May 18.

This is interesting: on December 9, Danielle and her attorney entered an ex-parte motion for public funds. For those unfamiliar, an ex-parte motion is a request made to the court on an emergency basis without notice to the other party, in this case the prosecution. I was unable to find any information on whether or not that particular motion was granted. 

Danielle’s trial, which had been scheduled to take place over ten days and to begin on January 5, was subsequently vacated, along with a pre-trial conference scheduled for December 21, 2020. The upcoming dates in the case are now as follows:

  • January 11, 2021: A status conference is scheduled.
  • May 24, 2021: Danielle is scheduled for a pre-trial conference.
  • June 15, 2021: Danielle’s jury trial, now set for eight days instead of ten, is scheduled to begin, and Judge Patrick Miller will preside.

I will continue to follow Dawson’s case and provide updates as I come across them. Click here for my ongoing coverage of Dawson’s story.

Sources: Idaho iCourt Portal

Leave a Reply