SKOWHEGAN, Maine (AP) — The youngest person to be charged with homicide in Maine in at least 30 years — and possibly ever — twiddled her fingers, bit her nails and looked down on Monday during her first court appearance. Afterward, her attorney said the manslaughter charge was "too harsh" for someone so young.
The girl was charged over the summer at age 10 with juvenile manslaughter in the death of 3-month-old Brooklyn Foss-Greenaway, who was staying overnight in the girl's home in Fairfield in the care of the girl's mother.
The girl, now 11, entered a juvenile plea called "no answer," which is neither a denial nor admission of the charges.
The girl's mother called police early on July 8 to report that the infant was not breathing, authorities said. The infant, who was reportedly fussy, was sleeping in a portable crib in the 10-year-old's bedroom that night, said the infant's mother, Nicole "Nicki" Greenaway of Clinton.
The state hasn't released the cause of death, but Greenaway was told that her daughter ingested medication and was suffocated.
Outside the courthouse, defense lawyer John Martin said manslaughter was an "extremely severe" charge for someone who's so young. "When I say too harsh, I mean she's just 11," Martin said. "It's harsh. There's no other word for it."
But Greenaway said the mother should be held accountable, as well, since she left her daughter in the bedroom, leaving her infant without adult supervision.
"I feel that she does need to be charged. To me right now it makes me feel like she's allowing (her daughter) to take full responsibility," Greenaway said.
Greenaway left the court hearing angry and frustrated, saying she felt that the girl and her mother were smirking. The girl's mother left without talking to reporters.
Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson declined to comment on whether there could be additional charges.
16 Week Curriculum With Instructions, Lesson Plans & CNG Conversion Kit