10-year-old accused of killing baby found not competent

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Chippewa County (WQOW) – The 10-year-old girl charged in the death of an infant in Chippewa County was found not competent to stand trial Tuesday.

The 10-year-old is charged in the October death of 6-month-old Jaxon Hunter.

In Wisconsin, if you are 10-years-old or older and charged with first degree reckless homicide, you must be charged as an adult.

The 10-year-old, who the court refers to as A.F., was walked into the courtroom in handcuffs. During the three hour hearing, A.F. sat calm and colored in a unicorn coloring book.

Attorney for the state, Richard Dufour, called Dr. Deborah Collins to testify via phone during the hearing. Collins is the Director of the Wisconsin Forensic Unit and holds a doctoral degree in child psychology. She testified that after meeting A.F. in February, she believed she suffered from PTSD, disruptive mood and deregulation disorder, as well as adjustment disorder with depression. She said these are the result of repeated exposure to trauma as a child and lack of consistent education. She did testify she didn’t believe A.F. had any intellectual disability. Collins believed A.F. was more likely than not to gain competency with stability, a consistent academic program and lack of trauma.

A.F.’s attorney’s, Laurie Osberg and Michael Steuer called their own psychologist, Dr. Michael Caldwell, who is a senior staff psychologist at Mendota Mental Health Institute. He agreed with many of Collins findings, however, he believed A.F. would not gain competency within a year, calling it ‘extremely unlikely’. Caldwell said A.F. is functioning like a 7-year-old due to her inconsistent education.

Judge James Peterson said it is too early to determine if she is unlikely to gain competency but thought she could within a year. He ordered A.F. to be turned over to the Department of Health Services for a period not to exceed 12 months. DHS will determine where she should get treatment and education. Choices include the Mendota Mental Health Institute in Madison and the Winnebago Mental Health Institute in Oshkosh.

Judge Peterson ordered a competency review hearing for July 3 at 1:30 p.m.

There was an extra police presence in the courtroom Wednesday. The News 18 reporter in the courtroom counted six badges. At a previous hearing in January, A.F.’s father had an outburst and was escorted out of the courtroom by the bailiff.

Courtney Terlecki

Courtney Terlecki

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