The sentencing hearing for the former Newbold woman convicted Oct. 25 of first-degree reckless homicide in the death of 20-month-old Avery Edwards has been set for 9 a.m. Dec. 11.

A jury of eight men and four women took less than two hours Thursday, Oct. 25 to convict Ellen L. Tran of causing the death of her stepson on April 14, 2017. Judge Patrick O’Melia, who has been hearing the case for the last 18 months, ordered a pre-sentence investigation (PSI) at the end of the proceedings on Oct. 25, a process that usually takes 30 to 45 days to complete.

Tran faces up to 40 years initial confinement and 20 years extended supervision at sentencing for the class B felony.

The PSI report, which is compiled by the Department of Corrections, will include a sentencing recommendation, along with background information about Tran, however O’Melia is not bound to follow the recommendation.

Tran’s now ex-husband Trung Tran is also facing charges in connection with Avery’s death. 

He is accused of failure to act to prevent bodily harm (as opposed to great bodily harm) to a child, a class H felony, and child neglect resulting in death, a class D felony.

His next court date is Nov. 13. He faces up to 31 years initial incarceration if convicted of both crimes.

According to the criminal complaint and trial testimony, the investigation into Edwards’ death began with a hang-up 9-1-1 call from the Tran residence in Newbold the evening of April 14, 2017. When a dispatcher called back, Ellen Tran reported that Edwards was unresponsive and had stopped breathing after taking a shower.

Edwards was transported by ambulance to Ascension St. Mary’s Hospital and later transferred to a hospital in Marshfield where he passed away.

Two days later Tran was arrested on suspicion of second-degree reckless homicide. The charge was amended to first-degree reckless homicide following a preliminary hearing on June 23, 2017, at which time then Fond du Lac County medical examiner Doug Kelley testified that Tran’s statement that Edwards fell in the shower did not match the injuries found at autopsy.

At trial, Kelley testified the boy died as the result of a diffuse axonal injury — a traumatic brain event.

According to Kelley’s testimony, diffuse axonal injuries occur when the brain rapidly shifts inside the skull. The connecting fibers in the brain called axons are sheared as the brain rapidly accelerates and decelerates inside the skull. According to Kelley, a child who suffers such an injury is not normal from that point on and may suffer from breathing problems, seizures or immediately fall unconscious.