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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Mother to Be Retried in Daughter's Death

August 25, 2000

VENTURA COUNTY — Prosecutors have decided to retry an Oxnard mother for murder after a prior conviction for the 1996 beating death of her daughter was overturned.

An appellate court last week found that the judge who presided over 22-year-old Gabriela Hernandez's trial erred when he barred testimony from experts concluding she was suffering from battered women's syndrome.

That condition, the court found, could explain why Hernandez failed to stop her husband from pummeling their 2-year-old, Joselin, to death.

Prosecutors are not fighting the ruling but said they will retry Gabriela Hernandez for murder and felony assault because she did nothing to stop the abuse.

"We felt the jury reached the proper verdict, and we intend to ask a second jury to reach the same verdict," said Senior Deputy Dist. Atty. Richard Holmes.

Gabriela and Rogelio Hernandez were found guilty of murder in January 1998 after a trial in which prosecutors presented a staggering history of brutality against Joselin, who died on June 22, 1996.

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