November 05, 2018 08:01 PM
A 10-year-old Wisconsin girl has been charged as an adult with first-degree homicide with intent, a felony.
The girl is accused of killing a 6-month-old baby at a Wisconsin daycare last week.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS is not releasing the accused child’s identity because of her young age.
The defendant’s mother held her daughter close as the little girl went before a judge for the first time.
It is a Wisconsin state law to first bring felony first-degree homicide charges to an adult court if the accused is 10-years-old or older.
“By statute, a 10-year-old or older is required to at least start out the process in adult court, and that’s why we’re here today,” the judge explained to the girl, her parents and the victim’s family.
Wisconsin law allows for minors 10-years-of-age and older to be charged as an adult for first-degree intentional homicide. In Minnesota, the minimum age to be charged as an adult is 14, but 10-year-olds can be charged in juvenile court. Below are the other states where children even younger than 10 can be charged with a crime in juvenile court.
Chippewa County Sheriff James Kowalczyk has worked in law enforcement for 40 years. He says he can’t remember ever seeing charges to this extent for a child so young.
“It’s not such a good morning for Chippewa County,” he said referring to both this case, and the first court appearance for the man accused of hitting and killing four members of a Girl Scout troop over the weekend.
The ten-year-old girl sobbed in her mother’s arms as Chippewa County District Attorney Wade Newell described the case.
“She panicked, didn’t know what to do and didn’t want to get into trouble,” he said at the girl’s bond hearing on Monday.
Newell says on Oct. 30, the girl was at her foster parent’s home in Tilden, Wisconsin, about 10 miles north of Chippewa Falls.
Prosecutors allege the girl dropped a six-month-old baby boy and he hit his head. When he started crying, she panicked, then causing what prosecutors say was intentional fatal head trauma to the baby.
The foster home is also a licensed daycare. Investigators say there was one adult and three children at the home at the time of the incident.
Investigators took a footstool and the girl’s shoes into evidence.
“The injuries sustained by the 6-month-boy was not an accident,” Kowalczyk said.
The baby boy’s family is asking for privacy.
He died Thursday after fighting for two days at Gillette Children’s Hospital in St. Paul.
The state will now examine the daycare license and foster care license issued to the Tilden home. Investigators say the owner has shut down operations while the 10-year-old’s case is in court. No one answered the door at the home on Monday following the child’s bond hearing.
“There’s going to be a lot taking place in the next couple days as to where she is ultimately going to end up,” said Chief Deputy Chad Holum, pointing at the added pressure the courts are under to find a less restrictive place to house the 10-year-old if she posts her $50,000 bond.
As a foster child, she can’t currently go home.
When asked whether the 10-year-old has any developmental disabilities, the sheriff only said that’s part of the ongoing investigation and he would not comment.
The case will likely be transferred elsewhere, as many of those working in the Chippewa County Courthouse know the victim’s family.
Unlike in Wisconsin, a 10-year-old in Minnesota cannot be charged as an adult for committing a crime. Minnesota law, however, does allow for 14-year-olds to be prosecuted as adults. But, through an open records request, 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS found the number of those type of cases is on the decline. Below are statistics on the number of resolved cases in Minnesota that involved a defendant between the age of 14 and 17 who was certified as an adult.
Updated: November 05, 2018 08:01 PM
Created: November 05, 2018 05:39 PM
Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company