LEWISTON — A judge ordered Friday that an 11-year-old Auburn girl charged with attempted murder in her father’s stabbing this week will be evaluated for competency and will remain in state custody.

The girl, dressed in a brown sweatshirt over a pink-collared shirt, her hair closely cropped, appeared in 8th District Court by videoconference from Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland, where she’s been held since Wednesday.

Police said she stabbed her father in the chest and stomach Wednesday morning at their Winter Street home in Auburn. He was treated at a local hospital and released. He also attended the court hearing remotely with the girl’s mother, aided by an interpreter, who translated English into Portuguese.

At Friday’s hearing, Assistant District Attorney Molly Butler Bailey referred to an affidavit written by Detective Nate Gagnon that said the girl had blindfolded her father before she stabbed him twice. He apparently knocked the knife away, so she went to retrieve a second knife, but didn’t stab him again.

Police said the girl was found with a cut on her hand.

After reading through two affidavits from Gagnon, Judge Susan Driscoll determined there was probable cause to support charges of attempted murder and Class B aggravated assault, both felonies, if the girl had been charged as an adult.


Butler Bailey argued in favor of holding the defendant at the South Portland facility to prevent her from harming witnesses or others.

Butler Bailey said, based on the affidavits, the stabbing had been premeditated and deliberate.

Richard Charest, who acted Friday as the girl’s attorney, said the Maine Department of Health and Human Services had been involved with the family at some point earlier.

He said the girl spoke to him about physical forms of punishment at her home.

“There could be valid issues here,” Charest said, “akin to self-defense.”

He said there appeared to be some family history that needs further investigation.


He and Butler Bailey agreed that a competency evaluation should be ordered.

“She’s 11,” Charest said. “Her brain’s not fully developed.”

(The Sun Journal previously reported her age as 12.)

He said the girl’s aunt, who also participated in the videoconference, was willing to house the girl.

The aunt, who lives in Portland, said her niece was never disrespectful to her and that she would come to her to seek advice and to be calmed.

When the girl was younger, she and her aunt had attended church together, her aunt told the judge.


“We are as shocked as anybody,” about the stabbing, the aunt said. The girl had “never, ever” done anything like that before, she said.

She said she asked the girl if she had stabbed her father and the girl told her she didn’t remember anything about it, the aunt said.

If permitted to stay with her aunt, far from any witnesses in the case, the girl “said she’s willing to abide by any conditions the court sets,” Charest said.

Butler Bailey said she agreed more investigation is needed, but argued, “My concern is for public safety,” noting the “extreme” behavior of the girl.

The judge agreed, noting the girl’s conduct was “unpredictable,” even if supervised.

“There’s a preponderance of evidence of unpredictable behavior that resulted in violence to a family member,” Judge Driscoll said.


She ordered that the girl continue to be detained to protect her from immediate bodily harm and harm to witnesses and others.

She also ordered a competency evaluation with state forensic services.

Bailey said she believed a diagnostic evaluation also should be ordered, but Charest objected, saying the girl could exercise her right to remain silent if that was done.

The case is expected to come back to court next month.

Judge Driscoll told the aunt that, “I think she’s going to need you in her life.”

She said she understood that the girl’s aunt could provide her with a safe environment, but in the immediate future, the judge was concerned about the “extent of mental health issues we really don’t know about.”

The judge appointed Gina Yamartino, a juvenile defense attorney, to represent the girl as her case progresses.

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