Saturday, September 01, 2001

Child abuse trial delayed

Competency exam set

By Terry Flynn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NEWPORT — A mental competency examination will delay a trial date for a Newport man indicted for assault in what is believed to be the first shaken baby case in Campbell County.

        Ardeth Finley, 24, of Newport, was arraigned Thursday in Campbell Circuit Court on charges of first-degree assault and being a persistent felony offender. He is being held in the Campbell County Detention Center under $100,000 cash bond.

        Campbell County Commonwealth Attorney Jack Porter said Friday that Judge Leonard Kopowski granted a request by Mr. Finley for the examination, which will be conducted at a state mental health facility on a date not yet determined.

        Mr. Finley is accused of shaking 3-month-old Amy Ferry on July 13 and causing brain damage. The child's mother had taken the girl and her twin sister to a baby sitter on Southgate Street in Newport. The baby sitter is Mr. Finley's mother.

        “We have a statement from a 12-year-old boy who was at the house when this happened and witnessed the baby being shaken,” Mr. Porter said.

        Now at home, the little girl is blind and may have other problems, according to doctors who talked with Mr. Porter. “The doctors said she may recover her sight, which is a plus,” Mr. Porter said. “But it's still unknown if there is any other brain damage.”

        He said he researched the court records for another shaken baby case. “As far as I can determine, we have never prosecuted one in Campbell County,” he said.

        Mr. Porter said he contacted the state attorney general's office for information regarding shaken baby syndrome and cases that have been prosecuted around the state.


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