- Associated Press - Thursday, May 15, 2014

SKOWHEGAN, Maine (AP) - The youngest person to be charged with homicide in Maine in at least three decades will have a manslaughter charge withdrawn and replaced by a misdemeanor charge under an agreement that will be put before a judge next week.

The deal brokered by the defense and prosecutor is in the best interest of the girl, who was 10 when she was charged in the death of an infant her mother was babysitting, said Deputy Attorney General William Stokes. The girl is now 12.

“The goal has been from the very beginning of this case to get her the long-term treatment and supervision that she needs to deal with the issue she’s facing so that ultimately she’ll become a productive and law-abiding citizen. It was never our goal to incarcerate her and treat her as an adult,” Stokes said Thursday.

The Fairfield girl was 10 years old when she was charged in the July 2012 death of 3-month Brooklyn Foss-Greenaway. Brooklyn was under the care of the girl’s mother and staying at their home.

The plea agreement, first reported by the Morning Sentinel newspaper, requires the approval of a judge at a hearing next week.

The judge previously ruled that the youngster is not competent to stand trial. But defense lawyer John Martin said he believes she can be deemed competent to accept the plea agreement, though not competent to stand trial. The trial would require the girl to have a longer attention span, Martin said.

The youngster was removed from her home and currently is in the care of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, which faulted her mother for leaving the infant in the girl’s room. An agency case worker said the girl had a behavior disorder that made her unsuitable for caring for the infant.

The Associated Press generally does not identify juveniles accused of crimes.

Under the plea deal, the felony manslaughter charge would be dismissed and replaced by lesser misdemeanor charges. Stokes and Martin declined to identify the new charges, saying those are governed in juvenile court by different rules than the felony charge, which was made public.

The girl’s mother won’t face charges.

There’s no precedent for charging a parent for a child’s criminal behavior unless the two acted in concert as accomplices, which was not the case here, Stokes said.