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Sentencing Delayed Four Weeks For Santa Maria Girl Convicted of Killing Baby

Sentencing for a Santa Maria teen found guilty of murder in the death of her newborn boy was delayed again Thursday — for four more weeks.

Santa Barbara County Juvenile Court Judge Arthur Garcia reluctantly agreed to delay the contested sentencing hearing until Jan. 5 for the case against the girl, referred to in court as Maribel S. due to her age. 

Defense attorney Lea Villegas said she asked for a longer delay to avoid a seeking yet another continuance.

At the end of the trial in October, the judge found the girl, who turned 16 in November, guilty of second-degree murder for killing the baby boy minutes after giving birth in her family’s home Jan. 17.

He also found true the allegation she used a deadly weapon — identified as a broccoli knife during the trial.

Maribel showed up at Marian Regional Medical Center on Jan. 17, and hospital staff contacted police to say she recently had given birth.

Police officers later found the dead baby boy in a plastic bag stuffed behind shoes in the bathroom vanity in the girl’s family’s apartment.

The baby had knife wounds, including one across its throat.

An autopsy later revealed the baby was alive at birth, and authorities concluded the death was a homicide.

On Thursday, Villegas told the judge she need more time to prepare for what she expects to be a contested sentencing hearing.

“This is not going to be continued ad infinitum,” Garcia said.

Sentencing initially was scheduled for mid-November.

“One more is one more too many,” Garcia added.

He advised the defense attorney she would need to file a written motion to show good cause if she requests another delay. 

On Jan. 5, Garcia said, he expected to set a date for the sentencing and said it could occur as soon as the following day or week.

For Thursday’s hearing, Deputy District Attorney Aurelia Mattson stood in for colleague Jennifer Karapetian, who led the prosecution team during the trial.

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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