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Couple Freed of Murder Counts in Daughter's Death

July 26, 1988

A Santa Ana judge on Monday dismissed second-degree murder charges against a Costa Mesa couple in the death of their 2-month-old daughter by a cocaine overdose in 1986.

Municipal Judge James P. Gray ruled that there was insufficient evidence to try Gilbert and Debbie Delgado on the murder charges, but ordered the couple to stand trial for child endangerment and narcotics possession.

"This is truly a tragedy. The only good thing in this case is that it doesn't happen very often," Gray said.

Gilbert Delgado, 25, and his wife, 22, were charged with murder in connection with the death of Stephanie Delgado on Sept. 11, 1986. Originally, the infant's death was attributed to sudden infant-death syndrome but tests later revealed that the baby had died of a cocaine overdose.

When Gray announced his decision, the couple let out a sigh and Debbie Delgado began to cry. The Delgados refused to talk to reporters.

The drug charges involve possession of a quantity of cocaine and marijuana found by police when the Delgados were arrested.

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