CLINTON — A teen charged in the death of a Delmar baby is fit to face continued court proceedings that could lead to him being tried in adult court, a Clinton County District Court judge has ruled.

Shawn W. Kiger, 14, is accused of child endangerment resulting in the death of Arryana JoLee Clark, 13 months, the daughter of Marvin Clark and Jessica Barnhart-Clark, 1879 270th Ave., Delmar. At the time of the child’s death, Kiger was one of four foster children living in the home of Jessica Barnhart-Clark’s parents, who live in a different home at the same address.

Clinton County sheriff’s officials were called to the scene around 6:30 p.m. Nov. 22 after a 911 call was made from the home of the baby’s parents. In announcing the charges at a press conference in December, Clinton County Attorney Mike Wolf would not give details about the events leading up to the death, only stating that the state medical examiner’s office ruled the death was a homicide and the child had sustained head injuries.

Court records indicate Kiger was watching the baby after Jessica Barnhart- Clark went to the other home on the property and that Kiger knowingly acted in a manner that would create a substantial risk to the child that could lead to injury causing death. Those records also indicate the head injury was of a severe nature and required substantial force caused by anotherperson.

In determining whether Kiger is competent to face charges, Kiger underwent psychological testing and had asked that the charge be dismissed.

But in a ruling issued Wednesday, Clinton County District Court Judge Gary McKenrick ruled that Kiger is competent to face the charges and denied the motion to dismiss.

The ruling follows a contested hearing that took place May 17 in Clinton County District Court. Admitted into evidence was the opinion of Dr. William D. McEchron, who has been Kiger’s treating psychologist since 2004. While Kiger has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder, McEchron concluded Kiger possesses solidly average intelligence and intellectual capacity for a 14-year-old and that he does not appear to have any memory problems or cognitive difficulties. McEchron states Kiger is able to participate in court proceedings without presenting any behavior problems that would interfere with the judicial process and that Kiger does not present any indicators of psuychoses that might interfere with his ability to participate in the judicial process in an appropriate fashion. He concluded “the child appears to meet the minimal standards of participatingin his own defense and assisting his attorney.”

However, an opinion from Dr. Antoinette Kavanaugh, a clinical psychologist who also evaluated Kiger, concluded Kiger is not competent at this time to meaningfully assist his attorney in the defense of the delinquency petition and that Kiger has difficulty making autonomous decisions, requires significant guidance and direction in decision making and is unable to appropriately weigh and appreciate future consequences of his decisions and actions. She said Kiger’s social workers describe him as having a maturity level comparable to that of a child who is 7 or 8.

In his ruling, McKenrick states: “Although the question is exceedingly close, the court concludes that the child presently has sufficient maturity when coupled with guidance and advice from his attorney and his guardian ad litem to appreciate the charge contained in the delinquency petition, to understand the nature of the delinquency proceedings and to assist effectively in his defense in the context of these juvenile delinquencyproceedings.”

Assistant Clinton County Attorney Ross Barlow said the next step will be a hearing to determine whether the case will be moved to adult court. A hearingdate has yet to be set.