Janesville49.5°

Bond set in infant deaths

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Kevin Hoffman
October 6, 2011
— A tearful Melody Butt made her first court appearance Wednesday, facing two felony charges of child neglect after her twin infants were found dead last month in her East Troy apartment.

Butt, 26, appeared in court on video from the county jail. She cried and gave only short responses as Kennedy read the charges. She faces two counts of child neglect resulting in death and misdemeanor charges of child neglect and party to child neglect.


Christopher Evans, the father of the 11-month-old twins, also made his first appearance from the jail.


Evans faces a misdemeanor charge of child neglect. Kennedy set a $10,000 signature bond for him.


The boy and girl twins were discovered floating in the bathtub of Butt's home Sept. 22 by her roommate, Derrick Ivory—one of seven people living in the two-bedroom apartment, according to the criminal complaint.


Ivory told police the water was running, and Butt was asleep in her bedroom. He removed the twins from the tub and laid them on the living room floor, where they remained when police arrived, according to the complaint.


Two other children lived at the home, and Butt is pregnant, Assistant District Attorney Zeke Wiedenfeld said. The surviving children, ages 2 and 6, were taken into custody by Walworth County social services after the incident.


Police were called to the apartment at 1976 Church St. at about 1:41 p.m., East Troy Police Chief Alan Boyes said.


Evans was working at his first-shift job when the children drowned, witnesses said. Butt works third shift and typically looks after the children while Evans is at work.


Evans' charge likely stems from the living conditions of the apartment. Investigators called it "extremely filthy," noting used diapers and bottles with curdled milk scattered around the room.


Deborah Marzahl of the Walworth County Department of Human Services told police she would have removed the children because of the apartment's condition.


Butt faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and a $100,000 fine on each felony count.


Judge Robert Kennedy set a $10,000 cash bond for her, but that could change Tuesday when Butt is scheduled for a second appearance. Kennedy said he was hesitant to set such a high cash bond for someone with no criminal record, but he approved the state's request and will let Judge John Race decide next week whether to lower it.


Race is assigned to cover all the case's proceedings, Kennedy said. Wiedenfeld argued the cash bond should stand because of the severity of the charges.



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