March 16, 1995 in City

Parental Fitness Trial Takes 3-Day Break

From Staff Reports

Testimony in the Angel Harper parental fitness trial resumes next week following a three-day recess.

The state attorney general’s office is asking a Spokane County judge to sever Harper’s ties to her 2-year-old daughter, Jessica.

Harper, 26, of Spokane is mildly retarded. Her child was placed in protective custody after birth and now is in foster care.

In October, Child Protective Services filed a petition to terminate Harper’s parental rights based on her below-normal intelligence and a history of depression.

CPS case worker Judy Kirking and psychologist Paul Wert were among those testifying Wednesday before Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen.

Harper’s attorney, Lucinda Saue, began calling witnesses Wednesday afternoon.

Saue is asking the judge to place Jessica with either Harper or Harper’s older sister, Connie Engleman of Virginia Beach, Va.

The state wants Jessica to remain with the foster parents, who hope to adopt her.

Testimony, delayed by scheduling conflicts, should end next week.

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