ELYRIA — A Cleveland woman police said was traveling with five children in the cargo area of a U-Haul truck last year has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
Jamie Adkins, 26, of Lorain Avenue, was indicted on a felony count of endangering children and three misdemeanor counts of endangering children by a Lorain County grand jury in December.
A motion filed earlier this month by Adkins’ attorney, Jenifer Berki, said Adkins “has mental defects that prevent the defendant from knowing right from wrong,” and she “is not competent to stand trial and to assist her attorney.”
Last week, Judge Raymond Ewers referred Adkins to District V Forensic Diagnostic Center for an evaluation of her sanity at the time of the alleged offense and for an evaluation of her competency to stand trial.
On Aug. 2, two employees from the city of Elyria discovered five children — who at the time were ages 15, 6, 4, 3 and 2 — in the back of a 10-foot U-Haul box truck at the Speedway gas station on Lorain Boulevard in Elyria. The children were suffering from fleas, bedbugs and lice, and some had ringworm, according to police.
Police have said Adkins told officers that she and Brian Dekam, 56, also of Cleveland, left for Jamie’s Flea Market in South Amherst at 4:30 a.m. from Cleveland and were on their way back when they stopped at the gas station to fuel up. Adkins told police she was ‘like a godmother” to the children and that their mother, Kimberly Hull, knew how they were being transported.
The city employees said they were on break about 2 p.m. when they noticed a child in the back of the U-Haul. Dekam closed the door and tried to drive away, but the workers stopped him and asked him to get out of the vehicle.
When Dekam rolled open the back door of the truck, the workers saw the five children and two dogs in the back of the truck. They said the vehicle smelled like “cigarettes and feces” and the youngest child was strapped into a car seat and appeared to be unresponsive and “was bright red as a tomato” from the heat.
In March, a motion to plead not guilty by reason of insanity was filed on Dekam’s behalf. Ewers also referred Dekam for a psychiatric evaluation, which, according to court documents, has not taken place yet.
Adkins is next scheduled to appear in court May 30. Dekam’s next court appearance is May 9, according to court documents.
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