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Published: Thursday, 1/29/2004

Psychiatric tests ordered for mom held in son s death

Angela Berry is accused of exposing Hassani Berry to extremely cold temperatures, causing his death Jan. 16. Angela Berry is accused of exposing Hassani Berry to extremely cold temperatures, causing his death Jan. 16.
KING / BLADE Enlarge

Angela Berry, seven months pregnant and charged with the death of her 3-year-old son, was arraigned yesterday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

Judge Ronald Bowman ordered Ms. Berry, 32, to undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine whether she is competent to stand trial for the murder of Hassani Berry.

Ms. Berry, of 1520 Elm St., is accused of exposing Hassani to extremely cold temperatures, causing his death Jan. 16. She is charged with murder, involuntary manslaughter, and child endangering.

Found naked in the hallway near the front door inside his mother s apartment, the boy s body temperature was 64 degrees and he was not breathing, authorities said.

Ms. Berry told police she found Hassani floating face-up in the bathtub and took him out of the tub. But Dr. Diane Barnett, a deputy county coroner, ruled out drowning, blunt force, or other trauma. The autopsy showed there was no evidence of frostbite.

Ms. Berry will be evaluated at the Court Diagnostic and Treatment Center. She will return to court Feb. 25, when Judge Bowman will review the findings of the court psychologist. She did not enter a plea at yesterday s hearing.

She is being held in the Lucas County jail in lieu of a $250,000 bond.

The endangering charge stems from an incident that occurred two days before Hassani s death when Ms. Berry is accused of putting her son in a bathtub of cold water as punishment for either vomiting or soiling himself.

As for the unborn child that Ms. Berry is carrying, Lucas County Children Services said filing a petition to gain custody is among the options the agency is considering.

The agency took her 11/2-year-old son after Hassani was found in the apartment.



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