Kearns mom accused of tossing baby in trash has intellectual disability, IQ test shows

Posted at 10:28 PM, Feb 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-10 00:28:29-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Nearly six months after Alicia Englert was arrested for trying to kill her own daughter, a 3rd District judge ruled she may not have to answer to the alleged crime in trial.

"Her parents are very relieved," said Jessica Peterson, attorney for Englert's parents.

Based on the testimony from two mental health experts, Judge Elizabeth Hruby-Mills determined Englert was incompetent to stand trial Monday.

"Medical professionals found exactly what they've been asserting all along," said Peterson. "And that is that Alicia just simply functions at a lower level than you and I would. She doesn't understand the gravity of what took place."

Since Englert's two-day-old baby was found dumped in a garbage can in her parents' Kearns neighborhood, there has been an ongoing debate about her mental state at the time.

Images of Englert online appear to show her partying in the months before her daughter was born, even maintaining an online dating profile.

But according to the family's attorney, none of that means the 23-year-old is competent for trial, an argument underscored by a state administered IQ test, where Englert reportedly scored a 51.

"Below 70 is what used to be called mental retardation that we now call an intellectual disability," said Dr. Karen Malm.

A licensed psychologist, Malm conducts competency evaluations for the state. While she didn't do Englert's, she said the score suggests Englert functions at the level of a 10- or 12-year-old child.

"You can have a good conversation with a 10-12 year old. They can form sentences; they can talk about some limited abstract concepts," Malm said. "So, for example, they might say, 'I want to be a doctor one day.' They really don't know what it means to become a doctor and the schooling that goes into it."

That level of reasoning, according to Malm, plays a big factor in determining someone's competency.

"Do they understand the basic workings of a courtroom?  And then secondly, can they work with their attorney?" she said. "Do they show enough understanding of their charges and the courtroom to help their attorney with their case?"

The answers to those questions are obvious, according to the family, who hopes to see Englert's case dismissed.

"Alicia simply did not understand the gravity of her actions at that time," Peterson said.

Englert is expected to undergo counseling over the next few months before a court hearing on June 8.  At that point, the court will revisit the issue of competency.

"This is still an open and active prosecution by our office," said Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill.

FOX 13 reached out to Englert's attorney, but did not receive any comment.