FORT DODGE, Iowa (WHO) – The application for new counsel filed by a Fort Dodge mother accused of drowning her newborn daughter in the bathtub has been denied.
Court documents filed Friday show the judge in Taylor Blaha’s murder case denied her request for a new attorney. District Court Judge Christopher Polking cited Blaha’s refusal to meet with her court-appointed attorney on multiple occasions and her demand for a speedy trial in his rejection of her motion.
Blaha is set to go to trial on February 28. According to Polking, “While it is not the very eve of trial, it would likely be difficult for new counsel to be adequately prepared by the current speedy trial demand trial date.”
The judge also said it wasn’t likely Blaha would be more cooperative with a new attorney, which may relate to her difficulty in understanding the proceedings and how to help in her own defense. One of her arguments in requesting new counsel was that she has a learning disability.
The order also addressed an oral motion made by Blaha’s attorney to request a competency examination. Polking granted that motion, citing some of the information heard during the previous argument about Blaha’s request for a new attorney.
A hearing has been scheduled for February 3 to determine if probable cause exists to sustain the allegations of incompetency. Proceedings in the case are suspended pending the outcome of the hearing.
Blaha and Brandon Thoma are charged with first-degree murder in the November 2022 death of their newborn daughter. They are accused of drowning the baby in their bathtub shortly after the child was born.
Thoma is also charged with abuse of a corpse for allegedly disposing of the baby’s body. Law enforcement officials have not yet been able to find the child’s remains. Thoma’s trial is set for August 8, 2023.