February 25, 2013

Judge closes Maine girl's manslaughter hearing to the public

The 11-year-old girl from Fairfield is charged with manslaughter in the death of an infant last summer.

By DOUG HARLOW Morning Sentinel

SKOWHEGAN – A hearing to determine the competency of an 11-year-old girl who is accused of manslaughter in the death of an infant last summer will be closed to the public.

click image to enlarge

Brooklyn Foss-Greenaway

Contributed photo

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In this October 2012 file photo, Amanda Huard and attorney John Youney enter Skowhegan District Court on Monday for a hearing for her daughter Kelli Murphy, 11, who has been charged with manslaughter in the death of Brooklyn Foss-Greenaway.

Staff photo by David Leaming

District Court Judge Charles LaVerdiere ruled Monday that the privacy of Kelli Murphy of Fairfield outweighs the public's right to information about the girl's mental health. The hearing is scheduled for Thursday morning in Skowhegan District Court.

Murphy is charged as a juvenile with manslaughter in the death of 3-month-old Brooklyn Foss-Greenaway of Clinton in July. The infant died during an overnight stay in the home of Murphy's mother, Amanda Huard, in Fairfield.

Witnesses said the infant was alone with Murphy in her room in the hours before police responded to a 911 call from Huard.

Murphy entered a "no answer" plea to the charge in Skowhegan District Court in October.

In his decision Monday, LaVerdiere wrote that criminal proceedings are open to the public when a juvenile is charged with a crime that would be a felony if the person was an adult or if a juvenile was to be tried as an adult.

A hearing to determine if the child is competent to stand trial, however, is not part of the criminal proceeding and should be held behind closed doors, he wrote.

 

Doug Harlow can be contacted at 612-2367 or at:

dharlow@centralmaine.com

 

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