Bat-wielding mom waives hearing
A Mahoning Township woman, who is accused of striking her daughter with a wooden baseball bat because of a clogged toilet, waived her preliminary hearing Wednesday and will likely enter a plea agreement.
Christine Mertz, 40, of 111C Jamestown St., Lehighton, attended the hearing without a lawyer.
After being arraigned on the charges by District Judge Edward Lewis in Jim Thorpe, Mertz said, "I just want to get this over with."
Judge Lewis told her she could have the hearing continued until she obtains a lawyer, likely a public defender; she could enter a guilty plea or she could waive the charges to Carbon County Court.
She was charged by Mahoning Township police with endangering the welfare of children, harassment and simple assault.
Attorney Seth Miller, an assistant district attorney, agreed to recommend to the court that charges of endangering the welfare of children and harassment be dropped if she pleads guilty to simple assault. She agreed.
Mertz was released on $20,000 unsecured bail and must appear for a pre-trial conference at Carbon County Court on July 31.
Chief of Police Audie Mertz (not related to the defendant) represented the police department at the hearing in place of patrolman Steven Homanko, the arresting officer.
Homanko wrote in the affidavit that on April 27, police were summoned to the Mertz residence where the daughter said she was struck by a wooden baseball bat by her mother. The girl told police this was because of causing "a malfunction in the bathroom."
The affidavit adds, "After she was struck two times, once in the right arm and once in the right leg, she was bitten by her mother another two times."
The girl said she was punched with a closed fist about 10 times, the affidavit says.
The daughter was not seriously injured, according to the affidavit.
Police turned protective custody of the girl over to her uncle.
Mertz's son also confirmed the incident, according to the affidavit.
A Protection From Abuse Order has been issued against Mertz regarding her daughter, mandating that the mother not have any contact with the child.