Hearing ends with judge yet to rule if 11-year-old girl is competent to stand trial

By Alex Barber, BDN Staff
Posted March 15, 2013, at 9:20 a.m.

SKOWHEGAN, Maine — The hearing to determine if an 11-year-old girl charged with manslaughter in the death of an infant is competent to stand trial was completed in Skowhegan District Court on Friday morning, without a ruling from the judge.

Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson, who is prosecuting the case, said after the 2-hour, 45-minute proceeding that Judge Charles LaVerdiere has not yet made a decision on whether the girl is competent to stand trial.

“The judge has taken the matter under advisement. Both parties have been briefed on the issue,” Benson said outside the courtroom. “I expect he’ll submit something in writing next week.”

The girl charged with manslaughter in the death of an infant, her attorney and her mother were unavailable for comment after the proceeding. Benson said he couldn’t discuss any of the testimony that occurred.

“There’s really nothing else I can tell you at this point,” he said.

The girl from Fairfield, whom the Bangor Daily News is not naming, is charged with reckless or criminally negligent manslaughter in the death of 3-month-old Brooklyn Foss-Greenaway last summer.

Late last month, Judge LaVerdiere ruled that the hearing would be closed to the public.

A competency hearing is “to see if she understands what lawyers do, what judges do, what court proceedings are and so forth,” Benson has said.

Nicole Greenaway of Waterville, the baby’s mother, was not allowed in the courtroom for the competency hearing and did not attend.

“I decided to go to work because I wasn’t allowed in,” said Greenaway on Friday afternoon. “I understand why I can’t be there, but it doesn’t make me happy. I’d like to be there so I know what’s going on and what’s happening going forward.”

The baby was in the care of the then 10-year-old girl’s mother on July 8, 2012. According to Greenaway, Brooklyn was left alone with the 10-year-old.

Greenaway said in August that a toxicology report revealed that medicine for attention deficit disorder was found in Brooklyn’s system. She said it’s the same medicine prescribed to the daughter of the babysitter. There also were bruises on the baby’s face from when she was suffocated, allegedly by the girl, according to Greenaway.

The autopsy report has not yet been made public.

Greenaway said it hasn’t been easy for her since her baby was killed.

“There are some days that are worse than others,” she said. “Sometimes I just sit in a room and cry. Sometimes I don’t have the ability to do that. Sometimes I try to put my mind on something different.”

Having the hearing on Friday was especially emotional for Greenaway, she said because it was also the birthday of her now 3-year-old daughter Maddison Foss-Greenaway. Greenaway said she’s also seen the effect of Brooklyn’s death on Maddison.

“Maddison is having a lot of setbacks,” she said. “She misses her sissy. How do you explain that to a 3-year-old?”

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/03/15/news/mid-maine/competency-hearing-of-11-year-old-charged-with-manslaughter-under-way/ printed on September 17, 2014