Trial set in case of accused infant killer |

Trial set in case of accused infant killer

Matthew Ogden
Staff Photo |

Matthew Ogden, accused of killing his infant daughter, will go to trial at the end of September pending a not guilty plea, District Judge John Neiley decided Friday.

Ogden, 30, is charged with murder in the death of his month-old daughter, Sarah, who died in June 2015 after suffering what an autopsy determined to be two potentially fatal injuries.

According to the autopsy report, the infant suffered bruising to her liver and a blunt force impact to the forehead that fractured her skull and caused hemorrhaging in her brain. Sarah’s twin brother was unharmed and taken into protective custody.

Ogden and his wife, Phyllis “Amy” Wyatt, left the state before warrants were issued, but were picked up June 30 in north-central Minnesota on felony charges of being fugitives from justice in another state.

Wyatt later pleaded guilty to criminally negligent child abuse resulting in death and was sentenced in February to eight years in prison.

Meanwhile, earlier this month Neiley denied a defense motion to dismiss the Ninth Judicial District Attorney’s Office from Ogden’s case due to the recent hire of Anthony Hershey as a deputy DA.

Hershey had previously represented Ogden in a related dependency and neglect case. He is not involved in prosecuting the murder case, and is being shielded from information about that case, according to DA Sherry Caloia. Other attorneys are also not allowed to discuss the case with him, Caloia testified at the March 2 motions hearing.

In Friday’s hearing, the defense opted not to enter a plea, but requested that the court set another arraignment as well as a two-week trial.

The approach, which leaves the door open for a guilty plea, was supported by Deputy DA Matt Barrett.

“Having the dates set is what’s important,” he said. “The not guilty plea can be entered at the end of April or early May.”

Ogden’s next scheduled appearance is May 9, with two days of motions planned for July, a pretrial hearing in August, and the trial set to commence Sept. 26. He is charged with first-degree murder of a child by a person in a position of trust, a first-degree felony; child abuse causing death, a second-degree felony; and two counts of child abuse causing serious bodily injury, a third-degree felony.

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