The mother of a 10-year-old girl accused of stomping on a 6-month-old baby’s head until the boy died, is speaking out in defense of her daughter, claiming the death was an “accident.”
“There is no way it was done in any type of intentional way,” she recently told Inside Edition. “It was an accident. And you know what? I believe my daughter.”
The young girl is accused of killing baby Jaxon Hunter at a licensed day care in Tilden, Wisconsin in October of 2018. According to prosecutors, the 10-year-old dropped child and he hit his head on a stool as he fell. The girl allegedly panicked and stomped on the baby to keep him quiet—ultimately killing him.
The girl—now 11—has been charged as an adult with first-degree homicide with intent but has currently been ruled unfit to stand trial and is being held in an adult unit at the Winnebago Mental Health Institute.
“She’s the youngest person there,” her mother said, adding that she doesn’t have access to a playground and is living with women more than twice her age.
While she believes the public believes her daughter is a monster, she says the young girl is “beautiful, intelligent [and] smart” and dreams of one day becoming a doctor and helping people.
Her mother told Inside Edition she tried to get her daughter help for the mental health issues she was struggling with before Hunter died, but was turned down because of the young girl’s age.
She said her daughter had suffered from suicidal thoughts and that if she had been able to get help for her daughter, she “wouldn’t have ever been” at the county-licensed day care program on that October afternoon.
But, the baby’s father, Nate Liedl told Oxygen.com that he believes that although the incident may have begun as an accident when the young girl dropped him, it quickly changed to something more when she began to stomp on his son.
He said the autopsy revealed seven distinct impacts to his head, suggesting his son had been stomped on multiple times before he died.
“She may not have gone in with the purpose of murdering him, but she had the ability to prevent further irreparable damage and didn’t,” he said. “You also don’t ‘accidentally’ proceed to put him back into the crib, cover him up as though nothing ever happened, leave him brutally injured and go back to playing outside.”
In January, attorneys for the girl tried to get the case dismissed, arguing that due to her age her brain wasn’t fully developed and she failed to meet the state’s requirements for first-degree homicide. Primarily, they argued that the charge required the defendant to have shown a “disregard of human life,” which they claimed she didn’t show, according to The Chippewa Herald.
Defense attorney Michael Steur claims she only stomped on the baby’s head once, not repeatedly, showing that she wasn’t trying to kill the baby.
“It shows some regard for human life,” he said.
However, Dunn County Judge James Peterson rejected the motion to dismiss.
“It’s hard to believe that any 10-year-old would not understand how dangerous of a thing this is to do,” he said.
Nate Liedl also believes the girl should known better and hopes she receives the maximum punishment for taking his son’s life.
“As most parents probably would, I still hope for the maximum sentence allowed,” he said. “Whether it be served in jail or prison, in a more clinical setting, or a combination of both, there needs to be a lengthy punishment.”
While some have criticized the state’s decision to try her as an adult, the grieving father told Oxygen.com he doesn’t view her as a 10-year-old girl and sees her instead “as the person who murdered my son.”
He believes the charges are appropriate considering the severity of the crime and meet the requirements under current Wisconsin state law.
While he said he’s heard comments suggesting the girl needs mental health treatment, he doesn’t believe that should impact her overall sentence.
“I don’t believe that due to a mental illness, people who commit crimes should get less time, but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe someone shouldn’t get the help they need,” he said.
Nearly a year after his son was killed, Nate Liedel is now left with only his memories of the son he described as “a happy, smiley baby with big, beautiful blue eyes.” He fondly recalls feeding his son a bottle as he drifted off to sleep, holding him in his arms or watching him enjoy one of his favorite activities—bouncing in his jumper.
“I remember watching him while I would make dinner and he would have that thing just rocking!” he said.
One of his favorite memories was in October 2018 when his aunt planned a day at a local hotel, where his family was able to come and use the pool.
“We had about 15-20 people there, some of whom got to meet Jaxon for the first time,” he said. “I am glad I was able to bring him with to spend a few hours with everyone, not knowing it would be the last time.”
Nate Liedl now says he misses his son “every single day.”
The girl’s next court hearing is scheduled for Oct. 10.
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