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DEFENDANT IN OGDEN LETTER CASE FACES EXAM AND SANITY HEARING

SHARE DEFENDANT IN OGDEN LETTER CASE FACES EXAM AND SANITY HEARING

U.S. Magistrate Ronald N. Boyce has ordered a psychiatric examination and a sanity hearing for Julie Estes, Ogden, who was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of writing threatening letters to a woman who rescued her daughter.

The grand jury charged Estes with mailing letters last year containing threats to harm Sherry Ricketts, also of Ogden. Ricketts had rescued Estes' 13-month-old daughter four years ago when Estes was stuffing napkins down the child's throat.Estes is also charged with sending threatening letters to Michael R. Howard.

The defendant was arrested on May 9, 1985, at an Ogden restaurant. Assistant U.S. Attorney William Ryan said the baby was crying so Estes started stuffing napkins down her throat.

"The little kid started to turn blue," he said, and Ricketts - who was a waitress working at the restaurant - intervened and stopped her. Estes was convicted of attempted murder and placed on probation, and the baby was placed in a foster home.

Howard, the father of Estes' other child, was given custody of that daughter, according to court rec-ords.

The indictment claims that from April through September 1988 Estes sent Howard and Ricketts typewritten letters containing threats.

The U.S. attorney's office requested the psychiatric examination of Estes, based on a report about her mental health by a social work expert.

"There is reasonable cause to believe that the defendant may presently be suffering from mental disease or defect rendering her mentally incompetent to the extent that she is unable to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against her or to assist properly in her defense," Boyce wrote.

If she is mentally competent to stand trial, he added, "a psychiatric evaluation will assist in discerning defendant's accountability at the time of the alleged offenses in question."

Before the sanity hearing, which was not yet scheduled, she is to undergo testing at a U.S. Bureau of Prisons medical facility in Springfield, Ill.