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Father of malnourished toddler who died to get mental exam following jail attack

Wichita Eagle - 9/11/2019

Sep. 10--An attorney for the Wichita father whose 2-year-old boy was discovered bound in his pajamas and dead in his crib has asked a judge to order that the father undergo a mental evaluation, saying his competency has been in question since he was attacked by a fellow inmate at the Sedgwick County Jail.

Records show 28-year-old Patrick Javonovich -- who along with his girlfriend is facing murder and other charges in their son's April malnutrition and dehydration death -- was attacked in the day room of one of the jail's pods on June 9. The motive for the alleged assault wasn't immediately clear, but court records say 26-year-old Lawrence Brown has been charged with aggravated battery in the case.

In requesting the evaluation, defense attorney Tricia Oldridge said Tuesday in court that Javonovich had been "severely beaten while in custody" and the fallout was lingering.

"That's been a number of months ago," she said referring to the alleged attack, "and he had surgery, brain surgery. We had met with him several times. We had concerns then, but we thought with recovery after a couple of months ... maybe he would be able to communicate better and could help with the defense of his case -- or at least communicate with us."

But, she said, "That hasn't happened."

Oldridge told Judge David Kaufman that Javonovich's attorneys have "a good faith belief" that all matters in his criminal case should be delayed until the county's mental health and substance abuse service provider, Comcare, examines Javonovich's mental state and determines whether he's fit to stand trial.

Kaufman granted the request. Prosecutors did not object.

Javonovich said nothing as he stood by Oldridge in court, dressed in a jail jumpsuit. He had been scheduled for a preliminary hearing Tuesday where prosecutors were expected to present evidence about Zaiden Javonovich's treatment leading up to his death.

But the proceeding was postponed without a new date being set. That will happen if and when Javonovich is deemed competent.

Sedgwick County sheriff's Lt. Tim Myers said Javonovich received medical treatment outside of the jail following the June 9 attack but didn't give specifics.

Police jailed Javonovich and Zaiden's mother, 23-year-old Brandi Marchant, after an officer responding to a domestic violence call at the couple's south Wichita single-wide trailer home late on April 11 found their son dead and his 4-month-old brother in critical condition.

The toddler's autopsy report showed he died from not getting enough to eat or drink. Zaiden weighed 14.9 pounds, about half what a typical 2-year-old weighs. His infant brother, who survived, weighed just eight pounds and was so severely underweight that his body temperature was low and he couldn't support his head.

Zaiden also had methamphetamine in his brain and cuts on his face that suggest he was abused, according to his autopsy report. When police found his body, the boy's pajamas were knotted near his throat to keep his arms inside -- which Marchant told officers she did to keep the toddler from crawling out of his crib. She laid him bound and face down in his crib on April 10 and she slept through the following day without checking on him.

The Kansas Department for Children and Families had been involved with the family since Zaiden was 8 months old but substantiated no abuse or neglect allegations. 911 call records show Marchant and Javonovich had a history of fighting and that others were worried about the boys' living conditions.

Both of Zaiden's parents are charged with first-degree felony murder, child abuse and aggravated child endangerment. His mother, Marchant, pleaded not guilty to her charges Monday. Her trial is scheduled for Nov. 12.

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