Is Hamilton mother charged in infant’s death competent for trial? Defense seeks evaluation

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Saralin Walden appeared for arraignment charged with involuntary manslaughter and child endangering in

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Saralin April Walden’s attorney wants to know if her client is competent to stand trial on charges related to the October 2018 death of her 3-month-old daughter.

Walden, 25, of Jeff Scott Lane in Hamilton, is accused of rolling over on daughter Rae’Anna while she was asleep on Oct. 23, smothering her. The infant was pronounced dead five days later at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, according to prosecutors.

On Tuesday morning, attorney Ramona Daniels said she plans to file two motions related to Walden’s mental state by the end of the week.

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“As I’ve spoken with my client I will be filing a motion for a competency evaluation,” she said.

Daniels said she’ll also file a motion to enter a “not guilty by reason of insanity” plea.

Butler County Judge Charles Pater said it will take about six weeks for a competency report and ordered Walden back in court on June 18 for the competency evaluation hearing.

Prosecutors claim Walden was using “illegal substances either at the time of or within close proximity to the time of her caring for her child, and passed out and/or fell asleep on top of the infant suffocating the infant,” according to court documents filed last month.

A Butler County grand jury in early March indicted Walden for a pair of felony charges, involuntary manslaughter and child endangering. Days after the indictment, Pater set her bond $50,000 at an arraignment hearing.

In addition to the two charges in Butler County, Walden also faces a felony charge of aggravated possession of drugs out of Hamilton County. On Dec. 15, 2018, she was arrested for possession of methamphetamine during a traffic stop, according to court records.

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Daniels said she has received most of the discovery evidence in the case and understands there is some supplemental discovery to be sent to her office.

Walden’s case is the latest in the area involving the death of a young child.

In April, Cody Colwell, 27, of Clearcreek Twp., was indicted by a Warren County grand jury on two counts of murder, felonious assault, and two counts of endangering children related to the death of Cayden Colwell, a 2-month-old infant found unresponsive at home earlier in April. The baby died on April 16.

Babysitter Lindsay Partin, of Hanover Twp., was found guilty on April 12 on involuntary manslaughter and three counts of child endangering, in addition to a murder charge, after 3-year-old Hannah Wesche collapsed on March 8, 2018, at her Shank Road home. She’s scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday, and she faces life in prison for the murder charge with parole eligibility after 15 years.