Shawna Gatto, center, wipes tears as she sits with attorneys Jeremy Pratt, left, and Philip Cohen at the Capitol Judicial Center, Tuesday, April 30, 2019, in Augusta, Maine, where she was found guilty of murder for the December 2017 killing of 4-year-old Kendall Chick, who was in her care. Credit: Shawn Patrick Ouellette | AP

WISCASSET, Maine — Assistant Attorney General Donald Macomber said Tuesday that Stephen Hood, the grandfather of 4-year-old murder victim Kendall Chick, will not face any charges at this time.

“Based on the evidence we have, we will not be filing charges against Mr. Hood at this time,” Macomber said during a break in Tuesday’s sentencing hearing for Shawna Gatto, Hood’s fiancee who was convicted of depraved indifference murder in Chick’s death.

Macomber, who prosecuted the case against Gatto, and Gatto’s defense attorney, Jeremy Pratt, presented sentencing arguments Tuesday morning before Justice William Stokes in Wiscasset Superior Court.

Stokes sentenced Gatto to 50 years.

During Gatto’s trial in April, Pratt’s co-counsel, Philip Cohen, pointed to Hood as a potential suspect, arguing that his actions suggested he was just as likely as Gatto to have killed her.

Cohen read a series of text messages Hood had sent Gatto in the months before Chick’s death. “You and I have no life,” he wrote in one. “The life we have sucks.”

“I don’t know what to do,” he wrote in another. “Get rid of her? How? But then we’d have to carry the guilt.”

Explaining his text message, Hood told Assistant Attorney General John Alsop that if Chick needed special care — Gatto told detectives that Chick was “a drug baby” and had behavioral problems — he wasn’t sure he could take care of her.

Hood denied he caused the child’s injuries.

Chick had been removed from her mother’s custody by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and placed with Gatto and Hood at their Wiscasset home three years before her death.

During the trial, Hood testified for the prosecution.

Hood arrived at Tuesday’s hearing late and sat quietly in the back of the courtroom.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and would like to talk with an advocate, call 866-834-4357, TRS 800-787-3224. This free, confidential service is available 24/7 and is accessible from anywhere in Maine.