Thursday, January 7th, 2010
Area babysitter pleads innocent to murder of infant in her care
By Margie Wuebker
St. Henry resident Tamara S. Evers looked straight ahead as she entered Mercer County Common Pleas Court Wednesday morning, apparently paying no attention to the large group of people gathered around the parents of an infant who allegedly sustained fatal injuries while under her care.
The 45-year-old Evers, a resident of 502 Northview Drive, faces two counts of murder, three counts of involuntary manslaughter, one count of felonious assault and two counts of endangering children in connection with the July 2008 death of Trevor Stammen.
She also is charged with perjury in a related case alleging she provided false statements while testifying at a Mercer County Juvenile Court hearing held in connection with the infant's death.
Seated between defense attorneys Greg and Eric Wilson, the dark-haired woman in a business suit said little other than "not guilty" when asked how she wished to plea in regard to the charges ranging from first- to third-degree felonies. The formality came after Greg Wilson waived reading of the eight-count indictment returned by grand jurors in December.
Several people in the gallery - reportedly grandparents - held photographs of the chubby-cheeked infant sporting a big smile. Others wore small pins on their coats bearing a similar likeness. One woman stroked her photograph lovingly as Judge Jeffrey Ingraham set Feb. 10 as the pretrial date in both cases.
Ingraham imposed a $100,000 unsecured bond in the latest case with provisions that the defendant have no contact with the Stammen family or unsupervised contact with children in general. Her attorneys immediately replied Evers has discontinued in-home babysitting services during dependency of the case and asked that she be permitted unsupervised contact with her own children - ages 10, 16, 20 and 23. The judge complied.
Evers remains free on a $25,000 bond in the perjury case after relatives reportedly posted 10 percent to secure her release from the Mercer County Jail in November. While she was taken into custody following the initial indictment, there was no arrest warrant in the second matter. Sheriff's deputies served the summons to appear paperwork issued by the court.
Trevor, the 6-month-old son of Brian and Angie Stammen, Fleetfoot Road, St. Henry, reportedly suffered two skull fractures. His death certificate, signed by Kent Edward Harshbarger of the Montgomery County Coroner's Office, listed the death as a homicide due to blunt force trauma to the head.
Dr. Elizabeth Gillis, a pediatric neurologist on staff at Children's Hospitals and Clinics in St. Paul, Minn., who worked with investigators and traveled to Celina to testify before grand jurors, maintains the injuries occurred while the infant was at the Evers home. She was recommended by Scott Longo of the Ohio Attorney General's Office. Longo, an attorney with expertise in cases involving brain injuries in children, is currently assisting Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Matt Fox as a special prosecutor.
The perjury charge was filed after Evers reportedly became emotional during a November interview conducted by Mercer County Sheriff's Detective Chris Hamberg and stated the injuries occurred when the infant fell off a diaper changing counter in her laundry room. She testified during an October 2008 hearing in juvenile court that she did not know what happened to the child.
According to sheriff's office reports, Evers called Mercer County 911 regarding an unresponsive infant whose eyes were rolled back. He was taken to Mercer County Community Hospital in Coldwater and later transferred to Children's Medical Center in Dayton, where he was pronounced dead nearly eight hours later.
The filing of multiple counts of murder and involuntary manslaughter is not unusual in a serious case resulting in loss of life as each deals with a different aspect. Frequently prosecutors drop some counts during plea negotiations.