Preliminary hearing is set for couple charged in baby’s death
Despite their defense attorneys’ objections, Matthew Ogden and Phyllis Wyatt will have a preliminary hearing Nov. 5 to consider evidence related to their infant daughter’s death.
The couple’s 4-week-old daughter, Sara Ogden, died June 20 after suffering what an autopsy determined to be two potentially fatal injuries: bruising to her liver and a blunt force impact to the forehead that fractured her skull and caused hemorrhaging in her brain. Sarah’s twin brother was taken into protective custody.
The pair fled before warrants were issued but were picked up in north-central Minnesota on June 30 on charges of being fugitives of justice from another state, which is a felony.
Ogden, 29, faces potential charges of first-degree murder of a child by a person in a position of trust, a first-degree felony; child abuse causing death, a second-degree felony; and two counts of child abuse causing serious bodily injury, a third-degree felony. Wyatt, 41, faces charges of criminally negligent child abuse causing death, a third-degree felony.
The cases changed hands several times before ending up on the desk of District Judge John Neiley. Although each defendant is represented by different counsel, the couple are being treated as co-defendants.
On Thursday, Deputy District Attorney Matthew Barrett pushed for both cases to move forward.
“We have two people in custody on very serious charges and they have a right to have this hearing,” he said.
Montrose public defender Kori Keil, who represents Ogden, objected to setting a court date the same week that she received 500 pages of discovery on top of the initial 800 pages, and pointed out that the coroner’s report has not been released yet.
Attorney Kathy Goudy objected on Wyatt’s behalf and asked for a separate hearing Sept. 11 to address Wyatt’s bond, which is currently set at $100,000.
Ogden is being held without bond, although Keil will have an opportunity to address that at the same time as the preliminary hearing.
Although he agreed to set the hearing further out than the typical 35 days, Barrett argued that his motion could not easily be brushed aside.
“Our demand for a preliminary hearing carries the same weight as the defendant’s does,” he said.
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