Dorchester County judge orders separate trials in death of toddler whose mom called boy ‘possessed’

Amber Lynn Bracci at a bond hearing on Feb. 2, 2011.

A man and his girlfriend who told Dorchester County officials four years ago that she struck her toddler because she thought the boy was possessed will be tried separately on homicide charges, an attorney said Friday.

John Derrick Weaver II of Summerville and the mother, Amber Lynn Bracci of Ridgeville, were scheduled next week to stand trial together on a count of homicide by child abuse.

But Weaver’s attorney, Andy Savage of Charleston, said a judge in St. George agreed to separate their trials. The proceeding for Bracci is set to start Monday.

Savage said that prosecutors’ case against Weaver appears to rest on the fact that he was in the home when Bracci’s son, 16-month-old Rowan Bracci, was fatally injured.

Amber Bracci had acknowledged during an interview with investigators that she hit Rowan’s head. She later noticed that he was sick, but she smoked marijuana before dialing 911, deputies from the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office said. The toddler died two days later on Jan. 8, 2011.

Bracci and Weaver were indicted and arrested about a week later on the homicide charge. In 2014, though, Weaver also was indicted on a count of aiding and abetting homicide by child abuse.

Weaver told investigators that he, too, had been smoking marijuana in the home, but Savage said he did not admit to any abuse. The only evidence against the man, his attorney said in court filings, would likely be opinions from medical experts that implicate him.

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