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
The child’s injuries required stitches, Biggs added.