TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — A split decision by the Kansas Supreme Court means a day care worker who had been convicted of killing a child in her custody will get a new trial.

Carrody Melissa Buchhorn was found guilty of second-degree murder in the September 2016 death of nine-month-old Oliver Ortiz at the Sunshine Kids Group Daycare Home in Eudora.

The baby was unresponsive in his crib following an afternoon nap. Buchhorn was the last person to admit to having contact with the baby, but she denied hurting the child. The coroner said Ortiz died from a blow to the head.

Buchhorn appealed, and in August 2021, the Kansas Court of Appeals ordered she should get a new trial because of ineffective counsel. The court said her attorney did not properly question or investigate the coroner’s ruling.

The Douglas County District Attorney’s office appealed the 2021 ruling to the Kansas Supreme Court.

The Kansas Supreme Court announced a split decision in the case on Friday morning. A new release said the six justices who heard the case were equally divided on how the issues on appeal should be decided.

While there usually are seven justices on the court, Justice Keynen “K.J.” Wall Jr. did not participate in the review because of his prior connection with the case while in private practice before joining the court, according to Lisa Taylor, a spokesperson for the Kansas Supreme Court.

The split decision by the Kansas Supreme Court means the Appeals Court decision stands, giving Buchhorn a new trial.