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MONROE, NC (AP) — A judge is appointing an attorney to represent a North Carolina man charged after an 11-year-old boy was found handcuffed to a porch with a dead chicken tied to his neck.

Dorian Harper told a judge Monday that he didn’t have money for an attorney because he was fired as an emergency room nurse after his arrest.

Harper’s girlfriend, Wanda Sue Larson, also was supposed to appear in court, but her hearing was postponed until Tuesday. She is a former child-protection investigations supervisor with the county Department of Social Services and was also indicted for failing to report the abuse

The couple was arrested in November after a Union County sheriff’s deputy found the boy on the porch. They had guardianship of the boy.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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