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New Preliminary Hearing Date Set for Orcutt Man Charged in Toddler’s Death

Sean Michael Kothe Click to view larger
Sean Michael Kothe

A mid-summer preliminary hearing has been scheduled for an Orcutt man charged in connection with a toddler’s death.

Sean Michael Kothe, 25, appeared with defense attorney Steven Andrade at his side in Santa Barbara County Superior Court on Wednesday afternoon before Judge Gustavo Lavayen.

Kothe was arrested after his girlfriend, Jackeline Molina-Rodriguez of Oceano, showed up at Marian Regional Medical Center with her 18-month-old daughter, Delilah Cassio-Molina, on June 26.

Due to the severity of the injuries, the child was transported to Valley Children’s Healthcare in Madera, where doctors determined the girl was brain dead; life-saving measures were halted two days later.

Kothe, who originally was taken into custody for an outstanding warrant and narcotics-related allegations, later was charged with murder and assault on a child causing death.

The third felony count alleges Kothe dissuaded a witness by force or threat on Aug. 20.

He also faces two misdemeanor counts of cruelty to a child in his care or custody, stemming from incidents occurring on or about May 5 and June 23.

Originally set for May 12, the preliminary hearing had to be rescheduled due to witness availability. 

Deputy District Attorney Tiffany Dix said she expects to call 10 witnesses during the hearing to determine if enough evidence exists for Kothe to stand trial.

Instead of the original one-day estimate, Dix told the judge on Wednesday the preliminary hearing could take two days.

With an already busy court calendar, they wrestled with what dates were available for the judge, attorneys and witnesses before agreeing to start the preliminary hearing on July 21, and continue it to another day, if needed. 

Kothe remains in custody at the Santa Barbara County Jail.

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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