Girl, 10, Charged in Baby's Day Care Death Ruled Incompetent to Stand Trial

The 10-year-old girl accused of killing a 6-month-old baby at a Wisconsin day care last year has been ruled not competent to stand trial. 
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The 10-year-old girl accused of killing a 6-month-old baby at a Wisconsin day care last year has been ruled not competent to stand trial. 

The girl, who is not being identified, was at her foster parents’ home in Tilden when she allegedly dropped the baby boy on Oct. 30, prosecutors said last November. The child hit his head on a footstool and began crying, at which point the girl started panicking.

"She panicked and didn’t know what to do and didn’t want to get into trouble and then she proceeded to stomp on the 6-month-old’s head," Chippewa County District Attorney Wade Newell said.

Dunn County Judge James Peterson ruled Tuesday that the girl was incompetent to stand trial after hearing the testimony of two psychologists who had spoken to the girl in recent months, according to the Leader-Telegram.

The girl sat quietly throughout the proceedings, prompting Assistant Attorney General Richard Dufour to point out she had the capacity to control her behavior, the paper reported.

The psychologists who testified painted a different picture, however. Psychologist Deborah Collins said the girl was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as well as disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, making her likely to have violent outbursts, according to the paper. 

Psychologist Michael Caldwell agreed that the girl is incompetent to stand trial and added that it could take many years of treatment before she is competent. He also said he didn't believe the girl should be tried as an adult

“Personally, I think it’s a bad situation when a 10-year-old has to be in an adult system,” Caldwell said. 

Both psychologists said the girl had a history of trauma, with Caldwell telling the judge her "home environment was less than optimal.” The girl had “trauma early in her life," added Collins.

At the time of the incident, the girl was in foster care at the home where the baby was killed. The home also functioned as a day care. 

Both psychologists believe that with treatment, the girl could become competent to stand trial eventually. 

Wisconsin state law dictates anyone 10 years old or older accused of felony first-degree homicide must see their case first brought in adult court.

The girl is charged with first-degree intentional homicide by someone age 10 or older. She is currently in the custody of the Department of Human Services.

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