Lincoln County Courts

Murder suspect pleads not guilty

Posted:  Tuesday, January 16, 2018 - 1:15pm

Shawna Gatto, 43, of Wiscasset, accused of murdering her fiancee’s 4-year-old granddaughter, Kendall Chick, in December, pleaded not guilty to the charge at her arraignment Jan. 12.

Her attorneys waived the requirement that the prosecution provide a verbal report of the probable cause that led them to seek the charge. Justice William Stokes set bail at $250,000, which was half of what Assistant Attorney General John Alsop had requested. As of Jan. 16, Gatto had yet to make bail; if she does, she will be under house arrest until her trial date.  If she is out on bail, she will have to appear for a bail hearing in Knox County Court on Jan. 22.

Stokes tentatively set the trial for November. There will be a status conference in late February.

Among the bail conditions, Gatto could have no contact with her daughter-in-law, Danielle Coffin, who said she had received texts from Gatto the day of Chick’s death, and had spoken to Gatto by phone while the ambulance was at the house.

Gatto’s attorneys also asked for a Clifford order, requiring the Department of Health and Human Services, which placed the child in the care of her grandfather, Stephen Hood, and Gatto, in January 2017, to turn over all records on Chick to the defense, including records of previous injuries or abuse. The Clifford order was approved; DHHS is required to comply within 10 days.