Natrona County District Court Judge Denies New Trial For Stephanie Shirts
A Casper woman who pleaded guilty and has been sentenced on charges that she burned a baby's face with a hot saucepan back in 2014, will not get a new trial, but is still waiting to hear from the state's highest court.
Natrona County District Court Judge Catherine Wilking has denied Stephanie Shirts' request for new trial.
Shirts claimed ineffective assistance of legal counsel, saying that her former attorney messed up, when she was advised what appeal rights she would lose, after taking a plea deal.
During the hearing, Shirts' former attorney said she got confused on what could be appealed after the plea change hearing.
Prosecutors had a confession on tape to be used at trial and the defense was having trouble finding expert witnesses that were available to testify.
Shirts still believed the confession statements could be suppressed, although they were permitted in earlier pre-trial hearings.
In the end, Judge Wilking ruled that there must be proof of defective performance and Shirts had none.
Furthermore, Judge Wilking said she found testimony from the former attorney to be more credible, because she had a better recollection of conversations, than Shirts did.
The case started in middle September 2014, when Casper Police were called to the Wyoming Medical Center about a one-year-old girl with severe head trauma.
The child had significant head injuries and was on a ventilator.
An officer also observed burns to the face and head, as well as multiple injuries in various stages of healing over her body
Officers went to a house on the 1700 block of South Fairdale Avenue, where Shirts, and two co-defendants lived.
Shirts was accused by prosecutors of burning the child’s face with a hot sauce pan, as well as shaking the child violently and smothering her, to get her to stop crying.