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Teen Mother Accused of Killing Newborn Seeking Furlough from Juvenile Hall

A 15-year-old Santa Maria girl accused of murdering her newborn baby wants to be granted furloughs from Santa Maria Juvenile Hall, according to her attorney.

Attorney Lea Villegas revealed the girl’s request for temporary release during a Wednesday hearing before Judge Arthur Garcia in Santa Maria Juvenile Court.

Villegas did not spell out specifics about the length of requested furloughs or other details.

A hearing on the request from the girl referred to as Maribel S. due to her age will be held July 20. 

"She has been in custody for quite some time,” Villegas said, adding that the girl has has good behavior while in custody.

Maribel has been incarcerated since January, when police arrested her on suspicion of murder with use of a deadly weapon.

Villegas said she has not notified the District Attorney's Office and Probation Office about the request for potential furloughs, and sought time so the proper paperwork could be filed before the judge considers the matter.

Dates also were set Wednesday morning for both sides to submit pre-trial motions and responses, with Sept. 1 scheduled to confirm when motions will be considered.

Villegas said she expects the hearing for the motions will require three full afternoons, adding she anticipated testimony from witnesses. 

Deputy District Attorney Chrystal Joseph handled Wednesday’s hearing for her colleague, Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Karapetian.

The case against the teen began when she showed up at Marian Regional Medical Center Jan. 17 and doctors determined she 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, according to testimony during a hearing on a defense motion to suppress evidence.

The baby had three knife wounds, including one across its throat, injuries the girl said occurred when the knife slipped as she attempted to cut the umbilical cord.

The juvenile court judge ruled Santa Maria police officers had valid consent for the searches. 

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

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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