clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Another evaluation ordered for woman accused of leaving newborn in trash

SALT LAKE CITY — A woman accused of abandoning her newborn baby in a trash can will face yet another competency evaluation before a decision is made about how to proceed with the case against her.

Alicia Marie Englert, 24, appeared briefly in court Monday as the latest competency evaluation was discussed, meant to address whether she can be brought up to a level where she is mentally capable of facing the criminal charge against her.

Englert was charged in September 2014 with attempted murder, a first-degree felony, after police say she secretly gave birth in her parents' Kearns home, neglected the infant for two days, and then abandoned the newborn girl in a neighbor's trash can on her way to work.

Women walking through the neighborhood heard the baby's cries and called 911. The baby girl survived and was later released into state custody.

Englert was found mentally incompetent to face the charges in February 2015. Prosecutors filed a motion earlier asking that, rather than continuing with competency evaluations that offered no new information, Englert be committed to the Utah State Hospital for restorative treatment to prepare her for trial.

Englert's attorney countered, saying the hospital was unlikely to accept Englert because her IQ is beneath its threshold for treatment, arguing the woman may never be capable of facing the charge.

To be accepted for competency restoration by the Utah State Hospital's Forensic Department, an individual must have an IQ of at least 70. Since December 2014, Englert's IQ has been evaluated at 68, 65 and 64, according to the defense's objection.

Englert's parents have contended since their daughter's arrest that she didn't understand what was happening after she gave birth to the baby, saying she has "special needs" and "doesn't process things correctly."

At Monday's hearing, Salt Lake County deputy district attorney Robert Parrish said extensive conversations with mental health experts have pointed to a personalized competency evaluation rather than a "pencil and paper" assessment, which Englert struggles with.

Melissa Fulkerson, Englert's attorney, said the defense supports the evaluation, which may give more conclusive answers.

"What I don't want to see with my client is her repeating these tests over and over," Fulkerson said.

The evaluation may give better recommendations for treatment options, she added.

Englert will return to court Aug. 15. If convicted, she faces a potential prison sentence of five years to life.

Since 2011, Utah's Safe Haven law has allowed parents to leave newborns at any 24-hour hospital — no questions asked — without legal consequences.

Salt Lake County offers a 24/7 crisis line at 801-587-3000 where mothers or others can learn about counseling services. Utah Newborn Safe Haven can be reached at 866-458-0058 or by emailing utahnewbornsafehaven@gmail.com.

Email: mromero@deseretnews.com

Twitter: McKenzieRomero