Baby sitter accused of killing Port Townsend toddler allowed to go home

PORT TOWNSEND — A 13-year-old baby sitter charged with the second degree murder of a Port Townsend baby, returned home Wednesday afternoon under parental custody.

The girl, who Seattle police and The Associated Press identified last week as Ashley Margaret Howes, was held in a juvenile detention facility Jan. 17 after a 19-month old baby girl she was watching was found dead in a West Seattle home.

The baby sitter pleaded not guilty during the Friday proceedings at the King County Juvenile Court.

King County Prosecutor Christine Herrman asked the Superior Court judge to hold Howes, calling her a threat to the community and herself.

Judge Patricia H. Clark, however, released the teen to 24-hour parental surveillance after her parents described her as an outstanding student and a loving daughter.

“She is home,” defense attorney Bryan Hershman, who represents the girl, said Wednesday afternoon.

‘Very sad about the death’

“She is very sad about the death of this child,” said Hershman.

“That’s always her primary concern that is devastating to her that the child had died.”

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