Wednesday, August 30, 2000

Teen to be tried Oct. 26 in baby's death

Judge won't release her to relatives

By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — The 16-year-old girl who is facing criminal charges in connection with the death of her infant daughter will be tried in October in Butler County Juvenile Court.

        The two-day trial of the mother of 11-week-old Maria Gomez Silva, who died June 12 from multiple injuries, will begin Oct. 26.

        The girl is charged with involuntary manslaughter, permitting child abuse and two counts of child endangering.

        After setting the trial date Tuesday, Judge David Niehaus denied the request of the girl's attorney to release her from the juvenile detention center into the custody of a family member.

        Attorney Karan Horan asked the judge to allow the defendant to stay with an aunt in Trenton under a home incarceration order and electronic monitoring. The Cincinnati Enquirer is not naming the girl because she is a juvenile.

        “There are no small children in the household,” Ms. Horan said. “She's not a threat to society.”

        She said there are other family members who are willing to let the girl stay with them.

        Assistant Prosecutor Jef frey Stone recommended against her release because he had no chance to investigate the aunt and her home.

        He also said the girl has psychological issues that would make her release from the juvenile center inappropriate.

        Judge Niehaus said the girl was better off in the juvenile center.

        “Where were these people before she got pregnant and started living with a man?,” the judge said. “The family did zero for this girl from the time she was 14 years old. They're two years too late.”

        Judge Niehaus said he is concerned about the girl's mental state.

        “She doesn't have a grasp of what's going on here,” he said.

        An aunt who attended the hearing began shouting and cursing as she left the courtroom. When she continued ranting in the lobby, a bailiff ordered her to leave the building.

        The infant's father, Ramon Gomez Silva, is charged with murder, involuntary manslaughter, two counts of felonious assault and two counts of child endangering.

        Mr. Gomez, 21, lived with the teen in a Hamilton apartment.

        Police said baby Maria was physically abused throughout her brief life.

        The infant's mother took her to a hospital June 9 when she stopped breathing. She died three days later at Children's Hospital Medical Center when life support was removed.

        Police said Mr. Gomez told them he often beat and squeezed the infant to stop her from crying.


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