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December 5, 2013

Mother charged in baby’s death sent for psychiatric exam

By Brian Louwers
C & G Staff Writer

WARREN — A Warren woman charged with killing her newborn girl will undergo a psychiatric examination before the case proceeds any further in the 37th District Court, Judge Matthew Sabaugh ruled Dec. 5.

Charliette Stalling, 25, appeared briefly along with her defense attorney, Louis Zaidan, for her scheduled preliminary examination on charges including felony murder and first-degree child abuse.

Stalling was arrested Oct. 4 after her two-week old daughter, Jamiah Stalling, died at the St. John Hospital in Detroit. Warren detectives said Stalling left the hospital before Detroit police could arrive to investigate the baby’s death. Warren police took her into custody at her home on Orchard, east of Van Dyke and south of Toepfer, a day after Warren Fire Department paramedics responded to a 911 call about a baby vomiting at the address.

Stalling reportedly claimed the baby choked while she was feeding her. Warren paramedics transported the baby to the St. John Macomb-Oakland Hospital in Detroit, and she was later transferred to the hospital on Moross.

Therese Tobin, chief trial attorney in Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith’s office, previously said “external blows” resulted in three separate impacts to the baby’s head, causing skull fractures.  Tobin said Macomb County Medical Examiner Dr. Daniel Spitz determined that the baby’s death was caused by blunt-force trauma and that he labeled the death a homicide.

At Zaidan’s request and with the agreement of Tobin, Sabaugh referred Stalling for a forensic psychiatric evaluation to determine if she’s mentally fit to stand trial. The judge kept her $250,000 cash bond in place and ordered her held in the Macomb County Jail pending the results of the evaluation and a return to court at a date that remained uncertain.

“I am insisting that my client does not fit this crime and that’s why we requested a forensic,” Zaidan said after the hearing was adjourned.

Two women in court to support Stalling declined to be identified, but stated only, “She’s innocent,” as they left the courthouse.

Stalling has two other children, ages 4 and 7, who remain in the care of family members.

She faces up to life in prison if convicted of felony murder.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Brian Louwers at brianlouwers@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1089.