By Patricia Minichiello

Dennis Duby, accused killer of two-year-old Dezirae Sheldon, is expected to participate via phone during a hearing today in Rutland Criminal Court.

The hearing was pushed back from August to give all parties more time to determine a trial date.

In addition, Duby plans to file a motion for a change of venue and the state is considering its position, according to documents filed with the court.

Duby, 33, of Poultney, denied killing his stepdaughter when he pleaded innocent to second-degree murder charges in February of 2014.

The state said it might come to an agreement with the defense on an upcoming trial date and venue.   

“Many of the trial witnesses are experts with busy schedules. The parties are attempting to determine availability for trial dates in the next few months and will try to present the court with a schedule that makes the most sense.”

In July of 2015, the state filed a motion to exclude evidence against Duby’s wife and Sheldon’s mother, Sandra Eastman.

In response in December of 2015, Duby’s attorney filed a motion to admit evidence introducing Eastman’s “other acts” into the case.

These “other acts” include Eastman’s previous conviction for Cruelty to a Child, all of Eastman’s contact with the Department of Children and Families, her mental health history and allegations of substance abuse.

Both filings have different accounts of what happened on Feb. 19, 2014. The state’s filing alleges that after Eastman returned from running errands, around 3:23 p.m., her daughter  – who was left alone with Duby at the time – was found unresponsive.

The state said Sheldon suffered bilateral skull fractures, extensive brain swelling, extensive subdural hematoma and bilateral retinal hemorrhages. They called the injuries consistent with blunt force head trauma.

“The state anticipates that its medical experts will testify that D.S.’s injuries could be consistent with high speed motor vehicle accidents, or falls from extreme heights.”

In Duby’s motion filed with the court, his attorney maintains that when Eastman came home from running errands she called 911 and he went outside to wait for the ambulance to arrive, leaving Eastman alone with Sheldon.

The hearing in Rutland Criminal court is set for 3:30 p.m. today.

Patricia Minichiello is a freelance reporter and editor of You can reach her at