A judge on Thursday set a sanity hearing for Desirae Greene Nelson, the Youngsville woman accused of second-degree murder in the 2001 death of her 3-year-old daughter.

The court will hear the findings of Nelson’s mental evaluation on Aug. 20, District Judge Harry Randow decided during a status hearing in the case.

Nelson is accused of disciplining her daughter, Dominique Greene, by placing her in scalding bathtub water. The girl suffered third-degree burns and died in a hospital Dec. 17, 2001, of an infection.

Nelson, 35, was scheduled for trial Jan. 12, but the matter was delayed indefinitely after her attorney, Harold Register, filed a motion to appoint a sanity commission to evaluate her mental health.

“I have talked to the defendant on many occasions and she often talked without making very much sense,” Register wrote in the motion. “She appears to be unstable and unable to fully understand the nature and consequences of the pending charges against her.”

After a grand jury indicted her in March 2002, Nelson missed two court dates before she entered a written plea of not guilty, according to court records. The case was then delayed a number of times, and she often failed to appear in court before she became a fugitive in the case from July 2005 until she was arrested Nov. 27, 2013, on an unrelated theft count.

Nelson faces a mandatory life sentence in prison if convicted in the child’s death.

Nelson — who was 22 and living in Carencro at the time — told police she put Greene in scalding water as punishment, because the potty-training child had several accidents that day, Carencro police Detective Timmy Prejean said at a 2002 news conference.

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