Since You Asked: Trial in child's death set for March 11

I have been wondering when the trial of Trisha Torresan and Bruce Satterlee for the death of Caleb Hearne is going to take place. Why has it taken so long for this case to come to trial, it will be one year on Feb. 22 that the child died.

— K. M., Medford

This case is slated for trial March 11, says Jackson County District Attorney Mark Huddleston.

Trisha Marie Torresan is accused of killing her 2-year-old son on Feb. 22, 2007. Torresan, 25, has pleaded not guilty in the death of her son, Caleb David Hearne. She will face charges of first- and second-degree manslaughter, third-degree assault and two counts of criminal mistreatment.

Police were called to Torresan's home on Main Street in Phoenix where they found the toddler had died from a blow to the body that ruptured his spleen. Satterlee's daughter has been placed in foster care since Caleb's death.

First-degree manslaughter carries a mandatory minimum 10-year prison sentence upon conviction under Oregon law.

Ryan Satterlee, 28, Torresan's boyfriend who was living in the home at the time, has also been charged with two counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment. First-degree criminal mistreatment also carries a mandatory minimum 10-year prison sentence under state law.

The arrests followed a lengthy investigation that began Feb. 22 when Torresan called police to her home on North Main Street in Phoenix saying her son had died.

The grand jury in June 2007 heard testimony from Medford police, Oregon State Police and Jackson County sheriff's detectives as well as Jackson County Medical Examiner Tim Pike and Curtis Oddo, the former pediatrician at the Children's Advocacy Center in Medford.

Prosecutors say Torresan abused both her children before Caleb's death. The mistreatment charges against Satterlee stem from his knowingly withholding proper care for the children in the face of the abuse, officials said.

This case generated a large amount of evidence and information that had to be carefully reviewed before it was ready to take before a grand jury, Huddleston says. Taking a year to get to trial is not unusual for cases involving the death of a victim, he said. The state and the defense must be ready with their witnesses, and the court must block out a week or more for the trial, he added.

Satterlee also is accused of robbing PremierWest Bank in Shady Cove in November. He has been charged with second-degree robbery and second-degree theft.

Torresan and Satterlee remain lodged in the Jackson County Jail.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to

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