The Sumpter Township couple charged with murder, child abuse, and torture in the death of a four-year-old child will be examined to see if they are competent to stand trial, have criminal responsibility, and were able to waive their Miranda Rights.
On Jan. 31, before 34th District Court Judge David Parrott, the two were scheduled for their separate probable cause conferences and were present by video from the Wayne County Jail where they are being held without bond.
Candice Renea Diaz, 25, was represented by attorney Sarah Krause who was standing in for Diaz’s court-appointed attorney Gabi Silver.
Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Melissa Palepu said she had no objection to the competency examinations, which could delay legal proceedings for 90 days.
Judge Parrott said the court dates will be reset once they get results of the competency exams.
He questioned the final request by Diaz’s attorney to determine whether she was competent to waive Miranda.
“I never heard of it before,” Judge Parrott said. “Maybe they won’t do it.”
When co-defendant Brad Edward Fields, 28, came before the judge by video more than an hour later, his retained attorney Timothy Wrather also asked for a competency examination for his client to determine the same questions. Prosecutor Palepu again said she had no objection.
“Competent to waive Miranda?” Judge Parrott asked.
“I don’t have discovery to show his Miranda,” Wrather replied. “I think we put it in there to cover all the bases, in case (Fields) made a statement at any point in the proceedings after this arrest.”
“That’s relevant how?” Judge Parrott asked. “A police officer is supposed to be a psychiatrist? I’m not sure the Center for Forensic Psychiatry will even do it. I’ll order it, but I never saw it before until this morning with the co-defendant.”
Both Diaz and Fields are facing life in prison if convicted of the charges in the Jan. 1 death of Diaz’s daughter, Gabrielle Barrett.
Sumpter Township police report Gabrielle was found severely burned on her extremities at her home in Rawsonville Woods mobile home park and the girl was pronounced dead after being transported to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital. Diaz and Fields fled the state after the Washtenaw County Medical Examiner declared the death a homicide.
They were apprehended Jan. 9 on I-75 in Georgia, reportedly heading to Florida. The two were arrested and extradited back to Michigan to face trial.
The medical examiner told authorities that Gabrielle’s death was the worst child death case he had seen in nearly three decades of practice, according to news reports.
After the finding of homicide, Michigan child welfare officials filed a petition to terminate the couple’s parental rights to the couple’s one-year-old daughter.
Diaz has claimed she is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress, disorder, depression, and anxiety.
Fields said he’s been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, social anxiety, agoraphobia, and post-traumatic stress disorders.
Asha Annette Dennis
Asha Annette Dennis, 21, waived her preliminary exam before Judge Parrott and he bound her over to circuit court for an arraignment on the information on Feb. 14. She is charged with trustee embezzlement of more than $1,000 but less than $20,000 in Van Buren Township on April 16, 2016. She is free on $5,000 personal recognizance bond.
Keith Joshua Malone
Keith Joshua Malone, 22, was present for his probable cause conference after being brought from the Division 3 Wayne County Jail where he is in custody. He is charged with possession of narcotics or cocaine and fleeing police in a vehicle on May 1, 2017 in Van Buren Township.
Court appointed attorney David Lankford said his client wished to waive his upcoming preliminary exam, so Judge Parrott bound Malone over to circuit court for a Feb. 7 arraignment on the information. His bond of $5,000/10% was continued.
Terence Montez White
Terence Montez White, 31, is scheduled for his preliminary exam on Feb. 7. He was lodged and not present for his probable cause conference before Judge Parrott on Jan. 31. His court-appointed attorney Susan Rock said he is demanding his preliminary exam the next week.
White is charged with felonious assault, possession of weapons by a felon, felony firearms, and domestic violence in VBT on Dec. 30. His bond is $100,000/10%. White also has a charge of assaulting/resisting/obstructing a police officer in Romulus with a bond of $50,000/10% on that charge.