Montgomery County

Maryland Mother Charged in Baby's Death Found Incompetent for Trial

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A Montgomery County mother who was charged with murder in the death of her 14-month-old daughter was found to be dangerous and incompetent to stand trial. The child's body still has not been found.

Kiearra Tolson, 23, was arrested earlier this month and charged in the death of Blair Niles. Charging documents say Tolson told investigators she starved her daughter for about three-and-a-half weeks then put the child’s body in a dumpster after she died. 

Tolson was committed to the health department for treatment after a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation.

"As long as doctors evaluate her to be dangerous, they can forcibly medicate her," Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy said.

If a defendant charged with murder remains incompetent to stand trial for five years, state law may require the murder charge to be dismissed.

McCarthy compared the case to the charges against Catherine Hoggle, who is accused of killing her two young children. They disappeared in 2014 and Hoggle was repeatedly determined to be incompetent to stand trial. 

Defense attorney Rene Sandler, who had no connection to the cases, explained the legal effect of finding a defendant incompetent. 

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“A person has an absolute right to a fair trial and if they’re incompetent, they can’t help their lawyer in their defense,” Sandler said. 

An acquaintance of Tolson called 911 on July 8 and said she was with Tolson and Tolson said she killed her child. Officers responded to her home on November Circle in the White Oak area and took her into custody. 

Police say Tolson then said she starved the baby, placed her body in a pillowcase and trash bags, and on June 17 put the child’s body in a dumpster near their apartment complex. During a search of their apartment, investigators found corroborating evidence, they said. In a search of the home, they saw that one pillow had a blue pillowcase. A second pillow was missing a pillowcase.

Police said the baby’s father was located and said he hadn’t seen his child since her birthday April 17 and had not had any contact with Tolson.

The child’s body has not been found, police said. Anyone with information is asked to contact police. 

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