SKOWHEGAN, Maine — The 11-year-old Fairfield girl charged with manslaughter in connection with the death of a baby last year is still not competent to stand trial, officials said.
Prosecutors, defense attorneys and a judge held a telephone conference call on Monday, according to Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson.
“We’re not, at this point, going to request another conference hearing. We’re going to wait for the next round of evaluations,” Benson said on Wednesday morning.
He said that, essentially, nothing has changed since Judge Charles LaVerdiere ruled in March that the girl from Fairfield was not competent to stand trial.
The girl from Fairfield, who the Bangor Daily News is not naming because she is a juvenile, was charged with manslaughter last year in connection with the death of 3-month-old Brooklyn Foss-Greenaway. The baby was in the care of the mother of the accused girl on July 8, 2012, the day of the infant’s death.
The girl is charged with reckless or criminally negligent manslaughter.
LaVerdiere said in March that he concluded that “at this time, the State has not met its burden of demonstrating that the Juvenile is competent to proceed under the standard established by the Maine Juvenile Code.”
LaVerdiere emphasized “at this time” in his ruling.
The girl’s competency hearing was held on March 15 at Skowhegan District Court at the request of her defense attorney, John Martin of Skowhegan. Benson and Martin submitted their arguments in writing to the judge in late March. Dr. Debra Baeder, the State Forensic Service’s Chief Forensic Psychologist, examined the juvenile and wrote a report, which was sealed by the judge. She was the only witness to testify at the competency hearing.
Deputy Attorney General and Chief of the Criminal Division William Stokes and Martin explained that the Juvenile Code calls for competency hearings to be done at 60, 180 and 365 days from the judge’s ruling. If by the end of March 2014 she is still not found competent to stand trial, Martin said it will be harder for the state to prosecute her.
Benson said on Wednesday that the state has decided not to do a follow-up interview after the 60-day mark from the first evaluation, which was received in early June.
However, Benson left the door open that the state could ask for another competency hearing after the 180-day mark.
“We will consider it after the 180-day mark. We’ll have to see what the evaluation says,” he said.
The status conference scheduled for Thursday was canceled, he said.