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Hearing Dates Set for Santa Maria Girl Charged With Murdering Newborn

Dates have been set for pre-trial motions in a case against a 15-year-old Santa Maria girl charged with murdering her newborn boy. 

During a brief hearing Thursday, Santa Maria Juvenile Court Judge Arthur Garcia scheduled time on Sept. 22 and 23 for the matter.

Testimony is expected to be heard on the first day, and arguments are planned for the second day, Garcia said.

The girl, referred to as Maribel S. due to her age, has been in Santa Barbara County Juvenile Hall since her late January arrest.

She has been charged with murder with use of a deadly weapon in connection with the death of her baby.

Santa Maria police were notified after the the girl showed up at Marian Regional Medical Center where doctors determined she had just given birth.

Details of the motion have not been released.

The judge also asked defense attorney Lea Villegas to extend the time waiver for a speedy trial through October, since it currently will expire Oct. 14.

Villegas said her client agreed, but added she is eager to move the case forward.

“I intend to do that,” Garcia told Villegas and Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Karapetian.

The judge also said he intends to coordinate trial dates with Santa Barbara County Superior Court officials. Attorneys have estimated the trial will take 5-7 full days, or twice as long if the busy juvenile court judge can only carve out afternoons for the case.

"That’s realistic, right?” Garcia asked, as both attorneys answered affirmatively. 

Once being notified by medical staff, police went to the girl’s home and eventually found the baby’s body in a plastic bag behind shoes in a vanity.

The girl’s arrest came after an autopsy determined the baby has been born alive, and had suffered three knife wounds. The girl told police the knife slipped as she was attempting to cut the umbilical cord. 

While most juvenile hearings are confidential, the public and media are allowed to sit on some cases involving serious crimes.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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