Chesterton Tribune

Chesterton woman pleads guilty but mentally ill to cutting child's wrists

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A Chesterton woman who police said cut a child’s wrists, then her own, last summer at Indiana Dunes State Park has agreed to plead guilty but mentally ill to a charge of battery with a deadly weapon.

On Wednesday, Amy Denno, 38, with a listed address of 127 Abbey Lane, submitted her plea to Porter Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford.

Under the plead-and-argue agreement, Denno is facing a possible sentence of two to eight years in the Indiana Department of Correction (DOC) on the Class C felony, according to court documents.

Indiana Code 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 center.

Should the defendant then be sentenced to DOC, that person “shall be further evaluated and then treated in such a manner as is psychiatrically indicated for the defendant’s mental illness.”

According to the probable cause affidavit filed by Capt. Jeff Biggs of 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, Biggs 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, Biggs 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, Biggs stated.

The child’s injuries required stitches, Biggs added.



Posted 5/22/2012