A Waukesha County court commissioner ordered a $1 million cash bail this afternoon for the woman charged with killing her two-month-old baby last Saturday at their home in the Town of Oconomowoc. The commissioner set her husband's bail at $100,000, after he allegedly failed to report the death of the child.
Dana M. Hooper, 32, and her husband, Kevin J. Hooper, 33, both of the Town of Oconomowoc, made their initial appearances in court today, as they were both formally charged with felonies in the death of their daughter.
Shackled at the wrists and feet, Dana Hooper appeared in court wearing the county jail's green suicide vest, as she was formally charged with first-degree intentional homicide.
In addition to the $1 million cash bail, the court commissioner ordered that she have no contact with her husband or their other children.
Kevin Hooper, clad in an orange prison suit, was also barred from having contact with his children or his wife. He was charged with failure to report the death of a child, a class I felony punishable by a maximum of up to a $10,000 fine and 3 1/2 years in prison.
Dana Hooper has no prior criminal record besides speeding tickets in 2008 and 2010. Prosecutors suggested that she might have been suffering from a mental illness at the time of the murder.
"It's certainly going to take some examinations by experts and some more investigation into circumstances leading up to Saturday to have better certainty about what's going on, but this case clearly cries out with some very serious mental health issues," Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel said after today's hearing. "There is no rational explanation for what happened. All the explanations that make any sense whatsoever are completely irrational."
Schimel indicated that Hooper may have been suffering from postpartum depression in the month leading up to the incident.
She faces life in prison, if convicted.
Court Commissioner Laura Lau called the circumstances surrounding the murder "about the most frightening that I've ever read."
Kevin Hooper's attorney, who tried to persuade the court to grant his client access to his two remaining children, said Kevin Hooper posed no threat to his children and that while he exercised poor judgment in not immediately reporting the crime, his intent was to protect his children.
Lau questioned why Hooper never thought to call an ambulance or alert authorities.
"Bad decision making? That is the understatement of the year," she said.
The Hoopers have a 2-year-old and and a 3-year-old, who have been temporarily placed with a family member.
Dana Hooper's next court hearing is set for Oct. 3 at 1:15 p.m., while her husband will be in court for a preliminary hearing on Oct. 18 at 8:15 a.m.
Check LivingLakeCountry.com for updates.
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