A Dane County judge decided Friday that bail wouldn't change for a Madison couple charged with keeping a badly malnourished 15-year-old girl in the basement of their home.
In addition, the lawyer for the girl's father, Chad Chritton, 40, said that he believes that a lock and alarm mechanism on the door to the basement in the home was required by some government authority to be installed.
But the lawyer, William Hayes, did not elaborate on his claim, which was made during a half-hour-long hearing that focused mainly on whether Chritton and his wife, Melinda Drabek-Chritton, 42, would be granted reduced bail or signature bonds.
Circuit Judge Amy Smith kept bail for Chritton at $22,500 and $30,000 for Drabek-Chritton. Both remain in the Dane County Jail.
The girl was 70 pounds and was found outdoors last month barefoot and wearing only pajamas. She has told police she was starved and forced to sleep in the unfinished basement for about five years.
Hayes said the family has been cooperative with authorities in the past, mainly surrounding a prior criminal case involving co-defendant Joshua Drabek, 18, who is Drabek-Chritton's son. He addressed the alarm system on the basement door that a criminal complaint alleges kept the girl in the basement and away from food or bathroom facilities.
"That system, as I understand it," Hayes said, "I may be wrong, but as I understand it, at some expense they were required from this earlier proceeding from 2008, to put this elaborate security system in and this automatic locking system into the basement."
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At that point Smith cut him off for not answering her original question. She had asked Hayes whether any new information had arisen between the time of the couple's last court appearances and Friday that would affect her decision on changing the amount of their bail.
Hayes declined to answer reporters' questions afterward and said District Attorney Ismael Ozanne could answer questions about the alarm system. Ozanne declined to comment, and Drabek-Chritton's lawyer, Thomas McClure, said he had nothing to add.
Assistant District Attorney Matthew Moeser countered in court that it was "just not true" that the couple has been cooperative with authorities in the past and said that both have acted deliberately to frustrate human services and police in the past.
Moeser said the case remains under investigation and that new information only continues to strengthen the case. Ozanne said more charges could be brought after a preliminary hearing is held on March 13. The highlight of that hearing is likely to be video of a two-hour police interview with the girl.
Chritton and Drabek-Chritton are charged with first-degree reckless endangerment, child abuse and child neglect. Drabek is charged with child abuse and two counts of sexual assault of a child.
McClure said after the hearing that the charges are based mostly on the statements of an adolescent and that in cases like these "there is quite a backstory." He said he could not discuss details.