Not guilty pleas entered for Monroe Co. couple accused of putting kids in makeshift cages
SPARTA, Wis. (WKBT) — A Monroe County couple accused of multiple counts of child abuse stood mute in court Wednesday and a judge entered not guilty pleas on their behalf to all charges against them.
Travis and Amy Headrick are accused of keeping their children in makeshift cages and holding them underwater until they nearly became unresponsive, among other allegations.
Both Headricks appearing in Monroe County court on Wednesday to enter the pleas. While this matter could go on to a jury trial, the not guilty plea does not necessarily mean that will be the case.
Amy and Travis Headrick, of Melvina, are accused of abusing their one biological and four adopted children.
“Mr. Headrick and Mrs. Headrick, why don’t you come up with your attorneys,” said Judge Todd Ziegler in open court.
Both Travis and Amy Headrick are facing multiple counts of recklessly endangering safety, physical abuse of a child intentionally causing bodily harm, child neglect and false imprisonment. Travis has also been charged with one additional count of physical abuse of a child.
“I’m going to enter pleas of not guilty on behalf of both individuals,” said Ziegler as the couple looked on silently.
The criminal complaint describes how the couple’s children– ranging in age 9 to 15– were allegedly zip-tied into cages, some were wearing diapers. The district attorney for Monroe County says he doesn’t anticipate any additional charges at this time.
“Although, like with any criminal investigation, it’s always ongoing if further information came in,” said District Attorney Kevin Croninger.
For now, the district attorney’s office will keep plea agreement negotiations open with the defense.
“It will really be their decision whether or not they would like to enter a plea or whether they’d like to proceed to jury trial,” Croninger said.
A pretrial conference is set for June 10. Croninger says that will give the state and defense enough time to review the details of the case, and potentially reach an agreement.
“Beyond that, the defense has options. They could potentially file motions, they could ask for a trial. There’s a couple of things that could happen. It really kind of depends on how the defendants and their council want to move forward,” Croninger said.
The Headricks and their attorneys declined to comment following the hearing. If convicted, Travis and Amy Headrick could pay tens of thousands of dollars in fines and spend decades behind bars. For now, the district attorney reminds the public that the couple is presumed to be innocent unless proven guilty.
The next time the Headricks will have to appear at the Monroe County Courthouse will be on July 8.
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