The Ranger (beta)

Fremont County's Daily Newspaper

News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.

Ranger Login

Woman accused in baby killing found competent for trial

Jul 29, 2014 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

Ardis Sierra Enos is charged with first-degree murder.

A federal judge has found an Ethete woman competent to stand trial for first-degree murder. A trial is scheduled for Sept. 15.

The defendant, Ardis Sierra Enos, 20, is charged with killing her newborn son March 26 at her family home, 458 Plunkett Road, on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

Also on July 22, a the judge granted her a $20,000 unsecured bond, and she has been released to the custody of her mother.

Prosecutors requested a psychiatric evaluation of Enos, and the Federal Bureau of Prison filed a report July 15. Federal public defender James Barrett and assistant U.S. Attorney Kerry Jacobson argued the issue of Enos's competence at a July 22 hearing, and Judge Scott W. Skavdahl decided the defendant is competent to face trial, meaning she is mentally and physically capable of defending herself in court.

Enos pleaded not guilty at the same hearing.

The defendant's attorney indicated he would seek separate psychiatric and health evaluations of his client and likely would ask for the trial to be postponed.

Charge

Ardis faces a charge of first-degree murder, punishable by up to life in prison.

An affidavit in the case stated Ardis suffocated her son March 26, minutes after giving birth to him alone in her family home at 458 Plunkett Road on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

Ardis reportedly told officials that she had not known she was pregnant until she was four months along, and she did not tell her family about her condition out of fear.

According to the charges, after killing the baby the defendant left the body in a dry ditch on her property and did not tell anyone about it.

Investigators found the body of an infant wrapped in a towel and lying in a ditch at the Plunkett Road address the next day, according to the affidavit.

Complications from the birth drove Ardis to go to Lander Regional Hospital, where she first denied having been pregnant, according to the affidavit.

Later, she told a doctor she had recently given birth to a stillborn baby. The doctor contacted the authorities.