February 27, 2013

Competency hearing delayed for Maine girl accused of killing baby

By Eric Russell erussell@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

A competency hearing for an 11-year-old girl charged with killing an infant from Clinton has been rescheduled to March 15 because of the snowstorm.

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Brooklyn Foss-Greenaway

Contributed photo

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Amanda Huard and attorney John Youney enter Skowhegan District Court in October for a hearing for her daughter Kelli Murphy, 11, who has been charged with manslaughter in the death of Brooklyn Foss-Greenaway.

Judge Charles LaVerdiere on Wednesday granted a motion by John Martin, the attorney for Kelli Murphy of Fairfield, to postpone the hearing that was scheduled Thursday in Skowhegan District Court.

Martin said his client "lives a great distance away and would be required to travel in hazardous conditions." Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson did not object.

The girl is charged with manslaughter in the death of 3-month-old Brooklyn Foss-Greenaway, who died in July while staying overnight at the home of Murphy's mother, Amanda Huard.

The infant reportedly was alone with Murphy in a bedroom hours before police responded to a 911 call from Huard, who reported that the baby was not breathing.

An autopsy revealed that the infant died from suffocation and had trace amounts of prescription medication in her system that matched medication Murphy was taking.

The girl is the youngest person to be charged with manslaughter in at least 25 years, state police have said.

Her mother, who was accused of neglect by the state Department of Health and Human Services for allowing Murphy to be alone with the infant, has not been charged.

In October, LaVerdiere ordered a competency hearing to determine whether Murphy has the mental acuity to stand trial. Her attorney subsequently requested that the hearing be closed because it might include discussion of sensitive information.

Benson opposed the request, saying that a secret proceeding could "violate the trust imposed by the public in its institutions of justice."

In a decision issued Monday, LaVerdiere sided with Martin but said that only the competency hearing will be closed.

The judge said much of the information uncovered in a competency exam would not be relevant to the public, but state statute "explicitly renders information disclosed by the juvenile in the context of the examination inadmissible" in a trial.

Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at:

erussell@pressherald.com

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