SKOWHEGAN, Maine — A District Court judge gave no indication Thursday when he will rule on the competency of a now-12-year-old Fairfield girl charged with manslaughter to be tried in connection with the death of a baby in 2012, according to the Maine attorney general’s office.
Judge Charles LaVerdiere took the matter under advisement after a hearing Thursday morning at Skowhegan District Court but did not say when he would issue his decision, Deputy Attorney General William Stokes said after the hearing ended.
The hearing was closed to the public.
The defendant attended the hearing with her attorney, John Martin of Skowhegan, Stokes said.
The girl is charged with reckless or criminally negligent manslaughter 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 defendant was 10 years old when the baby was killed.
“Both the state and the defense presented evidence to the court,” Stokes said in a telephone interview after Thursday’s two-hour hearing. “The judge indicated he would review the competency report and, then, decide if he needed to hear testimony from expert witnesses.”
Stokes said that the state presented a new competency evaluation of the girl but refused to discuss what was in the report.
Efforts to reach Martin Thursday afternoon were unsuccessful. The defense attorney told the Waterville Morning Sentinel that his client is not competent to stand trial. He also told the newspaper that he has submitted a motion to dismiss the case, which the judge did not rule on Thursday.
LaVerdiere ruled in March 2013 and again in June that the girl, who the Bangor Daily News is not naming because she is a juvenile, was not competent to stand trial. He concluded a year ago 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,” according to a previously published report. The judge said in June that, essentially, nothing had changed.
Stokes said Thursday that the judge also said in June that it was possible the girl could be found competent “in the foreseeable future.” The prosecutor declined to speculate on how long the judge might delay a trial while waiting for the girl to mature.
“It’s the judge’s job to articulate what ‘the foreseeable future means,” the prosecutor said. “To some extent we’re all in uncharted waters because there’s never been a defendant this young.”
If convicted of manslaughter, the girl probably would be sent to a residential treatment facility or group home under the direction of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, where she could be with children her own age, rather than to the Long Creek Youth Development Center in Portland, according to a previously published report.
Long Creek is the only juvenile facility in the state that houses girls.
Since her arrest, the girl has been under the care of DHHS, according to the attorney general’s office.