A Chesterton woman who pleaded guilty but mentally ill to a charge of
battery with a deadly weapon—after cutting a child’s wrists last summer at
Indiana Dunes State Park, then cutting her own—has been sentenced to home
On Monday, Amy Denno, 38, with a listed address in the 100 block of Abbey
Lane, was sentenced to four years, three of them suspended.
Porter Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford ordered Denno to serve the
non-suspended year in home detention, on the condition that she “continue
mental health counseling and taking medication as prescribed,” according to
the sentencing order. The three suspended years Denno must serve on formal
probation, “under the normal and usual conditions.”
Battery with a deadly weapon is a Class C felony, punishable by a term of
two to eight years. Denno’s four-year term is the “advisory” sentence, that
is, the midway point in the sentencing range. Under state law, a longer term
would typically entail aggravating circumstances, a shorter one mitigating
State law stipulates that a person who pleads guilty but mentally ill shall
be sentenced “in the same manner as a defendant found guilty of the
offense.” Prior to sentencing, however, the defendant must be evaluated by a
physician, licensed psychologist, or community mental health provider.
According to the probable cause affidavit filed by the Porter County
Sheriff’s Police, on July 10, 2011, an investigation was begun after a child
younger than 13 was treated at Porter hospital for knife wounds to the
wrist. Also treated was Denno, who admitted inflicting those injuries on the
child, the affidavit stated.
Denno advised that “she had been depressed lately,” took the child with her
to Indiana Dunes State Park, and there “used a small paring knife from her
kitchen” to cut the child’s wrists and then her own, the affidavit stated.
At some point the child was able to take the knife, throw it in the dunes
grass, and then persuade Denno to drive them both to the hospital, the
The child’s injuries required stitches.