Blaha asks for new attorney

A Fort Dodge woman accused of assisting in the drowning of her newborn baby last fall is asking the court for new representation, claiming that her attorneys with the Mason City Public Defender’s Office don’t have her best interests in mind.

Two new filings were submitted in Webster County District Court by Taylor Blaha, 24, this week, requesting that defense attorneys Charles Kenville and Dianne Wallwey be removed from her case.

In one filing, Blaha wrote, “I feel that he’s not doing his best to help me out. I feel that he don’t care to help me he don’t care what I tell him he tells me that I’m going to prison no matter what. He’s the worst lawyer he sucks on being my lawyer I would like a knew [sic] one.”

In another, Blaha wrote, “I don’t understand what there [sic] saying or what informashion [sic] is on the papers please consider I have a learning disability.”

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A hearing on Blaha’s request is scheduled for next Friday.

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Blaha, and her boyfriend Brandon Thoma, are charged with first-degree murder, a Class A felony for allegedly drowning their newborn baby girl and disposing of her body somewhere around Fort Dodge around Nov. 16, 2022.

According to the criminal complaint, Blaha gave birth to the girl inside the bathroom of the apartment she shared with Thoma at 927 Central Ave. At the time of the birth, Blaha told investigators, Thoma was in the adjacent bedroom. After she gave birth, Thoma helped Blaha move from the toilet to the bathtub.

A short time later, the document says, Blaha and Thoma together held the infant under the water in the bathtub, drowning and ultimately killing her. In the early morning hours of Nov. 17, Thoma allegedly left the apartment building with the baby’s body inside a backpack to dispose of the remains.

Following an investigation, the pair were arrested and charged on Dec. 7, 2022.

Blaha’s trial is currently scheduled for Feb. 28, but if her request for new counsel is granted, that date will likely be pushed further out.

Thoma’s trial is scheduled for Aug. 8. Thoma is also charged with abuse of a corpse, a Class C felony.

The infant’s remains have not yet been found and the Fort Dodge Police Department is continuing to investigate. The Webster County Crime Stoppers has offered a $1,500 reward for information that leads to the recovery of the body. Anonymous tips can be submitted by testing “LEC” and the tip to 274-637 or by calling 515-573-1444.

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