11-year-old charged in baby’s beating death won’t face trial

PAINESVILLE, Ohio (AP) – An 11-year-old girl charged with murder in the fatal beating of a 2-month-old infant in February is not competent to stand trial, an Ohio juvenile court judge ruled Thursday.

Lake County Juvenile Court Judge Karen Lawson made the decision after a day of testimony from psychologists and said the girl has significant mental health issues that make her incapable of understanding court proceedings.

Doctors testified that she had a lengthy history of mental health problems that started when she was 6 years old. She has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, as well as anxiety and mood disorders.

The girl also had stays at various mental institutions and reported hearing voices telling her to kill herself and others, said psychologist James Eisenberg, who was called by the defense. Eisenberg said he is surprised she has never been diagnosed with a psychotic disorder.

She has been held in a juvenile detention center since Feb. 6, the day 2-month-old Zuri Whitehead died in surgery. Police say the baby was severely beaten while staying at a Wickliffe home with the girl and her mother, who is friends with the infant’s mother.

Lake County Prosecutor Charles Coulson said he is disappointed in the decision.

The girl will be held at a juvenile detention center for 90 days until a suitable placement is found for the girl. The murder charge against her will be dismissed after that time period, Lawson said.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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