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Child abuse hearing set back a week

A status hearing for two South Kitsap residents charged with tying up their adopted grandchildren was pushed back a week after at least one of the defendants’ attorneys requested more time to complete mental health evaluations, according to Deputy Prosecutor Claire Bradley.

Bradley said the attorney representing 61-year-old Judith Kay Mann — who along with her husband, Larry Lee, 66, is charged with abusing at least two of the children in their care — requested a hearing this week be postponed so he could have his client’s mental status evaluated.

At the Manns’ arraignment on charges of unlawful imprisonment and child abuse last June, Judith Mann’s attorney Roger Hunko requested a week continuance before he entered a plea on his client’s behalf, stating that he was unsure at that time whether his client was fit to stand trial.

However, at Mann’s next hearing, she was arraigned on both charges with no mention made regarding her competency.

Bradley said that she believed the latest delay was not requested because of any renewed concerns regarding Mann’s competency, but that her attorney wanted the evaluation to aid in her defense, which be one of diminished capacity.

The Manns are scheduled to go to trial next month, after rejecting a plea agreement that Bradley said would have “significantly” lowered their jail time.

Both are currently charged with one count of assault of a child in the second degree and one count of unlawful imprisonment, and Bradley said if they had accepted the plea agreement they be facing a maximum of four years in prison.

However, since so far they have rejected the agreement, she said they will be facing several more charges and “a significantly longer sentence” if found guilty.

“If their cases go to trial, I will be adding more counts of child abuse and unlawful imprisonment, either second or third degree, and for an exceptional sentence due to aggravating circumstances,” Bradley said.

The Manns were arrested on June 11 after a thin and disheveled 10-year-old boy in pajamas was found walking barefoot on the Manns’ street around 4:30 a.m. that day, claiming to have escaped their house after having been tied up for several days, according to the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office.

When deputies entered the home, they discovered the boy’s 7-year-old sister hog-tied — her ankles and wrists bound with plastic zip-ties — on a mattress. They also found a third child, reportedly the 11-year-old son of Judith Mann’s son James Vance, who was not tied up but did appear to be malnourished.

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