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West Ventura County Focus

OXNARD : Mother in Battery Case Misses Hearing

October 08, 1994|BARBARA MURPHY

An Oxnard woman accused of dropping her infant daughter over a six-foot fence did not show up for a scheduled court hearing Friday, but the judge agreed to give her another chance before issuing an arrest warrant.

Aretha Marcell Chester, 23, is scheduled for trial Oct. 17 on charges of child endangerment and battery. Superior Court Judge Joe D. Hadden said he will issue a warrant for Chester's arrest if she does not appear in court that day, Deputy Dist. Atty. Maeve Fox said.

Chester's attorney, Jorge Alvarado, said he believes his client made an honest mistake by failing to appear in court.

"I think it's just a mix-up on the dates," Alvarado said. "At this point I don't think you can say she's failing to cooperate."

Alvarado said Chester has been in contact with his investigator in recent weeks.

Chester was arrested after an incident on July 31 that witnesses said began with an argument between the woman and a group of men at Sierra Linda Park in Oxnard. When the men jumped over a chain-link fence, Chester dangled the 3-month-old infant over the fence and released the girl, according to court testimony.

The fall fractured the baby's skull, authorities said.

Chester was in jail in lieu of $10,000 bail until Hadden, over prosecution objections, released her on her own recognizance last month, Fox said. The defendant has made one court appearance since then, the prosecutor said.

When Chester failed to appear in court Friday, Hadden ordered a $25,000 warrant held until the Oct. 17 trial date.

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