That is an amazing story!
SPRINGFIELD - An Oct. 1 competency hearing has been set here for the girl who was at the center of a storm of controversy and concern after she was hospitalized at age 11 with a serious head injury.
After Haleigh Poutre was brought to Noble Hospital Sept. 11, 2005, with a severe head injury, her adoptive mother and stepfather were charged with abuse. The state Department of Social Services at one point sought to have a feeding tube that was keeping her alive removed, saying the girl had no brain function. In February it was reported she had recovered enough to possibly testify in the criminal case.
Hampden Superior Court Judge Judd J. Carhart on Tuesday set the date for a competency hearing for Haleigh as requested by the lawyer for her stepfather, Jason D. Strickland.
In February, defense lawyer Alan J. Black said in a motion he filed that he had been told Haleigh had recovered to the point that she could testify against Strickland, 34. He immediately began raising issues of her competency to Carhart, who is specially assigned to the criminal case.
Black said he has not been allowed to see the girl by the state Department of Social Services, which has custody of Haleigh, nor the Franciscan Hospital for Children in Boston where Haleigh is hospitalized.
He said he has an expert reviewing Haleigh's medical records. "My expert would like to have access to the victim," he said.
In order to have Haleigh in Carhart's courtroom here for a competency hearing, Black will give her notice to appear, he said.