Monday, June 04, 2001

Girls face poisoning trial today

By Marie McCain
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Four girls accused of trying to poison their teacher will return to court today.

        The girls, ages 11, 12, 12 and 13, are scheduled for trial before Hamilton County Juvenile Magistrate Rob Gray.

        They are charged with contaminating a substance for human use, tampering with evidence and obstructing official business in the May 10 incident at Oyler Elementary School in Lower Price Hill that allegedly targeted fifth-grade teacher Nancy Wynette.

        An attorney for one of the 12-year-olds has filed a motion to suppress his client's statements to authorities, contending that her rights to counsel and silence were violated.

        The four have been held in juvenile detention since their arrests May 17. School officials discovered the plan after catching one of the girls with a bottle of liquid drain cleaner.

        Officials say the girls poured the cleaner, described in court as concentrated sulfuric acid, into Ms. Wynette's water bottle.

        The teacher felt the bottle was warm and put it in the refrigerator overnight.

        The next day the girls emptied the bottle, authorities say.

        Juvenile Court Magistrate Mary Schulcz ordered each girl to undergo a competency examination to determine whether each can assist in her own defense.

        One girl has been declared competent.

        The four have been expelled from school. If convicted, they could remain in custody until they are 21.


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