Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Mother may see trial in drowned infant case

by Rob Ireland

October 20, 2011

ELKHORN — Standing outside of an apartment complex where two infants drowned in a bath tub, a hysterical Derrick Ivory waived down a police officer as he arrived on the scene.

“They’re inside. Go save them,” Ivory told East Troy Police Officer Lucas Twelmeyer, according to Twelmeyer’s courtroom testimony.

When Twelmeyer entered the apartment, he found two twin infants, who were not breathing, lying on the living room floor.

Inside the apartment complex, Twelmeyer saw the defendant, Melody Butt, 26, who was clearly upset, sitting on the stairs of a common area with her hands over her face.

Butt is accused of falling asleep after beginning to run a bath for one of her infants. While she was allegedly sleeping, both of her twins drowned.

After the Preliminary Hearing, Judge John Race found enough evidence to bound Butt over for trial. She is scheduled for an Oct. 28 arraignment.

Butt has been charged with two felony counts of child neglect causing death and four misdemeanor counts of child neglect. The felony counts carry a maximum penalty of 50 years imprisonment and $200,000 in fines.

East Troy Police Officer Aaron Hackett spoke to Butt after the infants drowned. Butt told Hackett she “placed on of the children in a bath tub and then accidentally fell asleep,” according to Hackett’s testimony.

According to the criminal complaint, Butt also told law enforcement she had worked third-shift the night before the accident. She said she and her children ate breakfast and she drove her oldest child to school and the father of her children to work.

Ivory, who is Butt’s roommate, went out to run errands and when he returned he heard the water running. He called out to Butt and then observed the twins in the bath tub.

Butt cried throughout the hearing and as she entered the courtroom. The pregnant mother is in custody in the Walworth County Jail in lieu of a $10,000 cash bond.

The child neglect charges stem from the condition of the apartment. According to the criminal complaint, clothes and food were scattered throughout the apartment, there were used diapers that apparently contained feces and bottles with curdled milk.

An employee with the Walworth County Department of Human Services viewed the apartment and said she would have removed the children because of the conditions and uncleanliness of the home.

The father of the twins, Christopher Evans, 28, has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor child neglect, and, if convicted, faces up to nine months in jail. Evans was at work at the time of the drownings.

During the hearing, Hackett said when he was in the apartment he observed the bathtub filled with a “substantial” amount of debris, which included plastic toys and books.

“The tub was not full of water, but the floor was wet,” he said.

During the investigation, Hackett went into the basement of the apartment and observed water on the floor, ceiling and walls.

Hackett said he spoke to Ivory, who is a roommate to Butt and the father of the twins, Christopher Evans.