CHIPPEWA FALLS — The 10-year-old girl accused of stomping on 6-month-old Jaxon Hunter on Oct. 30, causing his death two days later, will remain in an adult women’s wing at Winnebago Mental Health Institute, a judge ruled Thursday.
The girl was sent there earlier this month after Dunn County Judge James Peterson deemed her incompetent to stand trial at this time, causing the homicide case to be suspended indefinitely. She will be reviewed quarterly to see if she becomes competent over the next year.
Defense attorney Laurie Osberg requested the hearing to see if the girl could be placed elsewhere. She anticipated the girl would be placed in a juvenile unit, but “once she arrived, I learned that placement wasn’t going to happen.”
The girl was “placed on a female-only adult unit for forensic patients,” Osberg wrote in a motion hearing submitted to the court.
“The placement of (the girl) in an adult unit was not anticipated by any of the parties,” Osberg said.
This placement “does not conform with the intent of current federal law as it relates to sound and sight separation of juveniles from adults in restricted settings.”
However, during the motion hearing Thursday, Osberg withdrew her request for a new placement. Osberg said the juvenile unit at Winnebago has individuals on commitment cases with many of them on medications, has both boys and girls, and she feared for the safety of her client, noting she is 10 and small in size.
Although the girl is in the wing with adult women, she is getting educational opportunities, Osberg added.
“She is quite happy there,” she said.
With the withdrawal of the motion, Judge Peterson left the commitment order in place. Peterson added that the girl’s competency report will remain sealed.
In her filings, Osberg indicated she is still seeking to have the case moved out of adult court.
“She also has the right to a ‘reverse waiver hearing,’ which, if granted, would result in a return to juvenile court, at which time such records would not be open to public scrutiny,” Osberg wrote.
At a hearing earlier this month, Peterson set up a return date for July 3 to see if the girl has been found competent at that time.
Jaxon was born April 6. He was at a day care, which also serves as a foster home, in the Chippewa County town of Tilden on Oct. 30 when the 10-year-old girl — who lived there as a foster child — was alone inside the house while everyone else was playing outside. The girl told authorities she panicked after dropping the baby and then she stomped on his head when he began to cry.
Jaxon was transferred to a hospital in Minnesota, where he died Nov. 1 — two days after the attack.
The girl appeared in Chippewa County’s adult court Nov. 5 on a charge of first-degree intentional homicide by someone age 10 or older. She was ordered to be held on a $50,000 cash bond and be placed in a secure detention center.