• Milwaukee woman charged in torture, starvation death of child pleads insanity

    January 5, 2017 Leave a Comment

    One of two women charged in the torture and starvation death of 7-year-old Trevion Winningham entered an insanity defense Thursday and a judge ordered her examined by a court-appointed doctor.

    The subsequent mental-health report about Etter Hughes is expected to be filed with the court next month. Hughes, 44, is accused of failing to stop or prevent abuse by Mary Martinez, 47, who is charged with repeatedly beating and assaulting the boy.

    This is the second time Hughes has been charged with neglecting a child who was tortured in her home and later died.

    A defendant entering an insanity defense — or “NGI plea” in courtroom parlance — contends that at the time she committed a crime, a mental disease or defect prevented her from appreciating the wrongfulness of her action, or from conforming her conduct to the law.

    Someone found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect is typically committed to a state mental hospital for treatment, sometimes for much longer than the maximum prison term for the offense.

    Hughes had been in Arkansas with her family in August when she agreed to take Trevion and his 9-year-old brother from their mother, Hughes’ second cousin, to Milwaukee, according to a criminal complaint.

    Hughes eventually connected with Martinez, whom she first met in prison, and moved into Martinez’s rat-infested apartment on S. 19th St. near W. National Ave., court records show.

    What followed, police say, was a prolonged period of starvation and torture for Trevion and his brother that ended with Trevion’s death on Nov. 29.

    Trevion weighed only 44 pounds when he died —10 pounds less than a child his age should have — and suffered blunt-force trauma injuries to his body, court records show.

    Hughes remained jailed on $150,000 bail Thursday.

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