The 19-year-old Harford County man with developmental disabilities who is accused of killing his 2-month-old niece was ordered Monday to continue being held without bail.
Colin Christopher Wolf, of the 2000 block of Bay Meadows Court in Forest Hill, is facing first degree murder charges after he allegedly struck the child, who had been left in his care, in the face Thursday night and she later died, according to the Harford County Sheriff's Office.
After an earlier bail review hearing Friday where Harford County District Court Judge Mimi Cooper questioned Wolf's competency, District Court Judge Victor Butanis ordered Wolf to continue being held without bail Monday and made no mention of any competency concerns.
"Is there even a death penalty here?" Butanis asked before preparing to inform Wolf that he could be sentenced to death.
Wolf did not respond to Butanis when asked whether he had spoken with a public defender and then struggled to speak before providing his address and the amount of time he has lived there.
Public defender John Janowich said Wolf attended Bel Air High School and asked the judge to consider that "certain exams" will be ordered for him.
Janowich later said the ball is in the state's attorney's court and said Wolf's disability is one factor that could be considered.
"Everything needs to be looked at," he said.
Left alone with infant
Shortly before 11 p.m. Thursday, at the request of paramedics from the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company, sheriff's deputies responded to the 2000 block of Bay Meadows Court in Forest Hill for a report of an injured baby.
When they arrived, according to a statement from the Sheriff's Office, deputies found the paramedics treating a 2-month-old girl. Deputies spoke to Rebecca Wolf, 52, who said the infant was her granddaughter and that the child had been left in the care of Colin Christopher Wolf, 19, of the same address.
The grandmother told deputies she had left the home at about 9:45 p.m. to visit family. When she left, according to the Sheriff's Office, the baby was asleep in her bassinet. When she returned home at about 10:50 p.m., Rebecca Wolf went to check on the child and found the baby had suffered serious injuries.
According to charging documents obtained from District Court Tuesday, Rebecca Wolf left her son, Colin Wolf, to watch the baby and explained she and her daughter, the baby's mother, were just going to Edgewood for a little while.
When the grandmother returned home to check on the baby, she saw Colin Wolf coming from the baby's room carrying a plastic grocery bag. When she asked him what he was doing, he said he was taking the trash out and going to his friend's house.
Rebecca Wolf said when she went into the baby's room, she saw the baby bruised and bleeding and tangled in the bumper pad.
When she called for Colin Wolf, she got no answer.
The grandmother immediately called 9-1-1. Paramedics treated the baby at the scene and transported her to Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air, according to the Sheriff's Office. The baby was later transferred to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, where she was initially reported to be in critical condition with life threatening injuries. At 10:59 a.m. Friday, the baby died, the Sheriff's Office reported.
Potential incriminating statements
Patrol deputies searched the area for Colin Wolf and eventually found him in the 1800 block of Trudeau Drive in Forest Hill.
Colin Wolf allegedly told his sister he had sprayed deodorant spray in the baby's face and punched her, stating that his sister did not deserve to have a baby, according to charging documents.
He made similar statements to police during an interview later, according to the charging documents.
Colin Wolf was arrested and initially charged with attempted first-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault, second-degree assault and child abuse. He was taken to the Harford County Detention Center where, after being seen by a Harford County District Court Commissioner, he was ordered held without bail.
As a result of the child's death, those charges were amended and Colin Wolf was subsequently charged with first degree murder, second degree murder, first degree assault, second degree assault and first degree child abuse leading to death, according to court records.
First bail hearing
During Wolf's first bail review hearing in Bel Air Friday afternoon, Judge Cooper became clearly concerned when Wolf, who appeared via closed circuit television from the detention center, stared blankly ahead and took long pauses before answering routine questions posed by the judge.
After questioning Wolf and meeting at the bench with lawyers from the Office of the Public Defender and the State's Attorney's Office, Cooper noted that Wolf has "developmental disabilities" and should receive a competency hearing.
Replying in a barely audible voice to questions from Cooper, Wolf said he dropped out of an alternative education program at the age of 18. When Cooper asked Wolf if he was seeing a "case worker," Wolf replied with the case worker's name, but also said that it had "been awhile" since he had seen her.
Cooper asked Wolf if he planned to get a GED in the future; he said maybe when he was 21. For the present, he added, he is working at Mars.
Cooper asked Wolf if he had someone working with him, but Wolf replied, "I work by myself." She asked if he is taking medications? Wolf said he is not.
At one point during the proceeding, Cooper tried to explain her role to Wolf by using a baseball analogy. "I'm here as the umpire, to call the balls and strikes," the judge said, but that did not appear to register with Wolf.
The judge then asked Wolf if he understood the difference between "pleading guilty or not guilty." His response was not audible in the courtroom gallery, but when Cooper asked him if knows what a jury trial is, Wolf replied in the negative.
Cooper ordered that Wolf remain in jail without bail and continued the bail hearing until Monday afternoon to give Wolf time to meet with his public defenders, whom she urged to try to explain to him the charges and his options as a defendant.
"I am going to make a finding that he [Wolf] does not appear competent to understand [the explanation] of his rights I am required to give him," Cooper said, but she stopped short of scheduling a competency hearing before Monday's proceeding.
Cooper noted that Wolf had just been arrested early Friday morning and had not been able to meet with the public defenders before his afternoon court appearance. She also said it did not make sense to try to schedule a competency hearing so late on a Friday afternoon.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun