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Father pleads mentally ill

BY Kaitlin Gebby - kgebby@chronicle-tribune.com

The Huntington Circuit Court has appointed a psychiatrist to a Huntington father on trial for battery and neglect who has pleaded mentally ill.

Kevin Tucker, 38, has been charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death and aggravated battery resulting in death, both Level 1 felonies.

According to Prosecutor Amy Richison, Tucker’s defense plead that he is mentally ill. During his status conference on Monday, the judge agreed to appoint a psychiatrist to evaluate Tucker, the first step in the process, Richison said.

Police were dispatched to Cedar Run Apartments in Huntington on March 25 at 4:35 a.m. in regards to an unresponsive two-month-old female. After being taken to Parkview Huntington Hospital, she was airlifted to Parkview Regional Medical Center in Fort Wayne, where she was pronounced dead after 6 a.m. An autopsy determined her death was due to blunt force trauma, according to the affidavit.

While at the hospital, Tucker reported to police that the child rolled off the bed and hit her head on the floor, causing her to be unresponsive.

A few days later, on March 28, Tucker told detectives in an interview that he shook the child multiple times during the night and that he’d thrown her from her crib to his bed. He said she was crying and he lost his temper, the affidavit said. Police discovered he had Google-searched “shaken baby syndrome” before calling 911. He was the sole caregiver of the infant at the time.

Tucker was taken to Huntington County Jail and his case was filed with the Huntington County Circuit Court the next day.

His next hearing is scheduled for July 9.