A man who had previously been deemed incompetent to stand trial admitted Wednesday to stealing a car with a baby in the back seat and then leaving the child in a car seat outside in the December cold last year.
Brandon Houge, 34, pleaded guilty in Ramsey County District Court to kidnapping and motor vehicle theft after District Judge Gary Bastian ruled he was now competent to aid in his defense.
The baby, 11-month-old Ayden Hoang, was in his family's car outside their St. Paul home three days before Christmas when Houge drove away with the car. Duy Hoang, Ayden's father, had left him in the car when he went into the house to get something about 8:30 p.m. Ayden was found outside a Maplewood apartment building about 10 p.m., and the stolen car was found two blocks away.
Houge told police that he was high on methamphetamine when he stole the car and that he didn't realize there was a baby in the back seat until he had driven several blocks. He said he left the car seat in an area out of the wind where he thought someone would find the baby, according to the complaint. Residents of the building found Ayden near a garbage can.
Houge is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 14.