Man competent to stand trial in baby’s death

Associated Press / April 29, 2011

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BRATTLEBORO — A 26-year-old Newfane man has been found competent to stand trial on second-degree murder charges in the death of his infant daughter nearly three years ago.

A judge made the determination Wednesday after hearing from lawyers for Joseph Brown and prosecutors.

Brown underwent a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation in February. He has pleaded not guilty in the September 2008 death of Autumn Page Brown.

The medical examiner found that the 2-month-old infant died of blunt impacts to the skull, skull fractures, subdural hemorrhaging, torso injuries, and fractured ribs.

Brown told police that he pressed his thumb against his daughter’s windpipe to stop her crying and that he dropped her twice, causing her to hit her head against a sink, according to the Brattleboro Reformer.

Defense lawyers say police interviews should not be used as evidence against Brown because the police did not use proper procedures regarding the reading of Miranda rights.

Brown’s lawyers also say their client has struggled with learning and emotional difficulties which stem from a history of severe childhood abuse.

Another court hearing is set for next month.