Girl arrested in woman’s killing has hearing behind closed doors

The Daily Sentinel (Grand Junction): A teenage girl accused of criminal charges in connection with a 61-year-old Mesa County woman’s death appeared before a magistrate Wednesday behind closed doors.

Stephanie Hauck, 14, was arrested last week on suspicion of manslaughter and second-degree assault related to the death of Linda Smith, who was found dead in her apartment at 547 29 1/2 Road on Feb. 13. She appeared Wednesday for advisement on her amended charges before Mesa County Magistrate Will McNulty.

Public Defender Kara Smith asked at the beginning of the hearing that the proceeding be closed to members of the public, but didn’t make a public argument as to why.

Prosecutor Trish Mahre told McNulty she didn’t see the need to have the hearing closed. Hauck’s first hearing last week was also closed to the public after a defense attorney said he was worried personal details about Hauck would be discussed. Mahre said last week, after reporters and members of the public were ejected from the hearing, personal information about the teen “really wasn’t” discussed.

Mahre also said she expected Wednesday’s hearing to be a short and simple, including a resetting of the case to another day.

A Daily Sentinel reporter and other members of the media objected to the closure as well.

After a private bench conference with attorneys and social workers, however, McNulty ordered the hearing closed, finding it was in the girl’s best interest.

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