Tahlequah Daily Press

December 6, 2012

Mother accused of shaking baby says she’s competent

Staff Writer

Tahlequah — A Tahlequah mother accused of shaking her 8-week-old son has stipulated to her competency.

Helen Marie Terrell, 30, was charged with felony child abuse in November 2011 and held on a $75,000 bond.

She later pleaded not guilty.

Court records show Terrell would not stipulate to a competency report from the state and sought independent competency checks. This week, she decided to agree she’s competent to stand trial, and also asked the court to reduce her bond.

The motion for a lowered bond is set to be heard by Associate District Judge Mark Dobbins on Dec. 17 at 1 p.m., and Terrell’s preliminary hearing is set for Jan. 30, 2013.

Prosecutors allege Terrell took the infant to a hospital when he began vomiting and wouldn’t eat. A doctor determined the boy showed symptoms and visible signs of shaken-baby syndrome, and ordered the child sent to a Tulsa hospital.

Terrell’s initial story to investigators was that she’d picked up the baby and perhaps shaken him “a little bit.” She allegedly admitted later that she had shaken the baby twice – once for about five seconds, and again for about 10 seconds.

Investigators say Terrell admitted she was angry, frustrated, tired, and stressed, and shook the baby when he was crying.

A neurosurgeon’s report says the baby was treated for “extracerebral fluid collections, consistent with chronic and acute subdural hematoma,” according to court documents.