The stepmother of a La Crosse area boy who died from physical abuse will be tried for causing his death.
Josie Dikeman of Onalaska faces charges of homicide, neglect, and physical abuse of a child, as a result of 6-year-old Alexavier Pedrin’s death last February. La Crosse County Judge Elliott Levine ruled that there was enough evidence of abuse to Alexavier to find probable cause to bring charges against Dikeman.
State investigators were among the witnesses at Friday’s court hearing who testified about the boy’s multiple injuries, which apparently led to internal bleeding. Dikeman’s attorney Christopher Zachar says evidence of physical abuse was “as circumstantial as it gets,” and argued that Alexavier was severely hurt after being pushed down a flight of stairs by his younger sister.
Dikeman pleads not guilty of inflicting repeated injuries on the boy, including slapping and kicking him, along with giving him medications. According to court testimony, Alexavier missed 61 days of kindergarten, and then 40 days of 1st grade because of illness in the months before he died.
The court hearings have been attended by several spectators wearing T-shirts honoring the boy’s memory. District attorney Tim Gruenke says their presence adds emotion to an already somber case.
“It’s a very emotional case, obviously, regardless of what happens in court, they still lost a family member, and a very young family member,” said Gruenke after the hearing, “so it’s gonna be emotional throughout.”