Chesterton Tribune

Woman who pleaded guilty but mentally ill to cutting child gets home detention

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A Chesterton woman who pleaded guilty but mentally ill to a charge of battery with a deadly weapon—after cutting a child’s wrists last summer at Indiana Dunes State Park, then cutting her own—has been sentenced to home detention.

On Monday, Amy Denno, 38, with a listed address in the 100 block of Abbey Lane, was sentenced to four years, three of them suspended.

Porter Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford ordered Denno to serve the non-suspended year in home detention, on the condition that she “continue mental health counseling and taking medication as prescribed,” according to the sentencing order. The three suspended years Denno must serve on formal probation, “under the normal and usual conditions.”

Battery with a deadly weapon is a Class C felony, punishable by a term of two to eight years. Denno’s four-year term is the “advisory” sentence, that is, the midway point in the sentencing range. Under state law, a longer term would typically entail aggravating circumstances, a shorter one mitigating ones.

State law 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 provider.

According to the probable cause affidavit filed by 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, the affidavit 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, the affidavit 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, the affidavit stated.

The child’s injuries required stitches.


Posted 8/17/2012