An Indiana teen charged with molesting and killing a 6-year-old girl in March 2021 will undergo psychiatric examinations to determine if he is competent to stand trial.
Anthony Hutchens, who was 14 at the time, reportedly told police that “a shadowy man” made him strangle Grace Ross.
Ross was reported missing from her New Carlisle home at about 6:30 p.m. on March 12, as CrimeOnline previously reported. Her body was found in a wooded area not far from where she lived about two hours later.
Hutchens, who lived at the same apartment complex, was initially charged in juvenile court, the South Bend Tribune said, and all the parties agreed he was competent, without holding a hearing.
The teen’s case has since moved to adult court, and St. Joseph Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Sanford ordered the examinations on Tuesday. If Hutchens is found not competent, his trial will be delayed while he undergoes treatment.
Sanford asked that the examination reports be submitted by mid-August and also vacated the original August 15 date to start the trial.
Hutchens’s attorneys say they plan to use an insanity defense when the case does go to trial. That would add two options to the possible outcome of a trial. In addition to guilty or not guilty, Hutchens could be found not responsible by reason of insanity — which would trigger another hearing to determine the proper placement for him — or guilty but mentally ill — meaning he would be sentenced as normal with court mandated mental health treatment.
The teen’s attorneys have also requested a bench trial instead of a jury trial. Prosecutors have not filed in that request as yet.
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[Featured image: Grace Ross/Facebook]