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December 19, 2013

Stapleton set for preliminary hearing

BEULAH — An Elberta woman who is accused of trying to kill her autistic daughter is set for a crucial court appearance one day after Christmas.

Eighty-fifth District Court Judge John Mead today accepted a psychologist's report that found Kelli Rai Stapleton, 45, mentally fit to stand trial. A preliminary examination is scheduled for Dec. 26 at 10 a.m. that could lead to a judge's decision to send the case to trial in 19th Circuit Court.

Stapleton faces an attempted murder charge after authorities said she tried to kill herself and her daughter, Issy, 14, on Sept. 3 by igniting two charcoal grills in an enclosed van.

Mead also set a 10 percent $1.5 million bond with the condition Stapleton not have contact with Issy or the rest of her children. Stapleton spent the months following her arrest inside Benzie County's jail without bond and remained there today under newly installed bond.

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