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State hoping Haleigh Poutre will testify


SPRINGFIELD, Mass.—Prosecutors hope a brain-injured girl who recovered after the state decided to take her off life support will testify against her alleged abuser.

Haleigh Poutre's stepfather Jason Strickland, of Westfield, is charged with beating the girl into a coma in 2005.

Poutre's case became famous after the state, heeding doctors who said she'd wouldn't recover, decided to remove her feeding tube. But she began to improve before the tube could be taken out.

At a pre-trial hearing for Strickland on Tuesday, prosecutor Laurel Brandt told a judge she was hopeful Poutre would testify.

Strickland's attorney, Alan Black, said he will question Poutre's competency. He said experts must determine if the girl can remember what happened.

Poutre, now 14, lives at a rehabilitation hospital in Boston.

2008 Jul 2