After three days of presenting testimony and evidence to a jury, the prosecution rested Thursday afternoon in the trial of Kimberly Maurer who, along with her fiancé, is accused of killing her 12-year-old stepson, Max Schollenberger.

Read More: Testimony begins in trial of woman accused of killing 12-year-old stepson

Max was found dead in his bed on the morning of May 26, 2020. He was naked, emaciated, and covered in feces. In addition to a head injury, he showed visible signs of malnutrition and starvation.

On Tuesday, forensic pathologist Michael Johnson told jurors that his autopsy showed the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the boy’s head, complicating malnutrition and starvation.

The manner of death, according to Johnson, was homicide.

Maurer is charged with first- and third-degree murder, endangering the welfare of a minor, and criminal conspiracy with her fiance, Scott Schollenberger, who is the boy’s natural father.

Scott Scollenberger was also charged in Max’s death, and last month pled guilty to first-degree murder. He has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Maurer’s court-appointed attorneys, Andrew Race and Michael Light, were expected to begin presenting her defense on Friday morning.

Lebanon County District Attorney Pier Hess Graf and her co-counsel, Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Edward McCann, spent the first three trial days attempting to paint Maurer as a stepmother who doted on the five other children she and Scott Schollenberger had, but ignored and mistreated Max, to the point of shutting him off from the outside world and starving him in filthy conditions.

Read More: Seeking justice for Maxwell Schollenberger, Lebanon County District Attorney brings in seasoned special prosecutor

Scott, Kim, and the six children lived together in a two-story house just off the square in Annville.

A steady stream of prosecution witnesses over two days described the conditions in the house at the time of death, the failure of Kim or Scott to enroll the child in school, Max’s lack of medical care after age 3, and how Kim and Scott treated the other children in contrast to Max.

Several witnesses said that Max was never enrolled in any school, even though he would have been eligible and would have had access to special instruction for physical or psychological problems.  

Police officers testified that Maurer gave conflicting statements as to who first found Max’s body, she or Scott Shollenberger.

Race told the jury in his opening statement that Kim Maurer will be testifying in her own defense, that the jury would learn that Scott Shollenberger killed Max with a blow to his head, and that Scott was threatening and intimidating to Kim Maurer and the children in the household.

On Wednesday afternoon, Erika Maurer, Kim’s 17-year-old daughter, testified that Scott was mean and aggressive toward the family, drank constantly, and that his behavior got worse after he lost his job in early 2020.

On one occasion, according to Erika, she saw Scott pick Max up by his shoulders and scream in his face.

On cross examination by Race, she said “I’m afraid of Scott” and “I never saw him without a beer.”

Thursday’s testimony centered on text messages, Facebook messages, and videos that police found on Kim Maurer’s cellphone. Police recovered nearly 32,000 text messages, 7,000 pictures and videos, and over 102,000 pages of Facebook posts.

Over the course of several hours, Hess Graf led two detectives through selected portions of the recovered data that were mostly consistent with earlier testimony. They described Max’s deteriorating behavior, his frequent urination in various parts of the house, and Kim and Scott’s increasing desperation at their inability to control Max’s behavior.

“He’s peeing and [defecating] everywhere,” Kim wrote at one point in 2016.

Elsewhere in the downloaded text messages, Scott Schollenberger told Kim that “Max f***s with my head,” and “If I have to come home, I will beat his a**.”

The prosecution’s final witnesses were two physicians, radiologist William Carter and pediatrician Lori Frasier. They described the signs of malnutrition and starvation found in Max’s body.

At the conclusion of Thursday afternoon’s testimony, Judge Bradford Charles sent the jury home for the day, then met with attorneys for both sides to discuss a number of legal issues.

The defense is expected to call its first witness at 8:30 a.m. on Friday.

Judge Charles has said that he expects the trial to last until at least next Tuesday.

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Chris Coyle writes primarily on government, the courts, and business. He retired as an attorney at the end of 2018, after concentrating for nearly four decades on civil and criminal litigation and trials. A career highlight was successfully defending a retired Pennsylvania state trooper who was accused,...