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No Death Penalty Decision in Caro Case

November 21, 2000|TRACY WILSON

Dist. Atty. Michael D. Bradbury is expected to announce in the coming weeks whether his office will seek the death penalty for murder defendant Socorro "Cora" Caro.

The 43-year-old woman is accused of fatally shooting her three oldest sons, ages 5, 8 and 11, as they slept in the family's Santa Rosa Valley home last November. A fourth son, a toddler, was unharmed in the incident.

Caro, who sustained an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. She has also denied a multiple-murder allegation that makes her eligible for the death penalty.

With her trial set to begin Jan. 8, Ventura County Superior Court Judge Donald D. Coleman asked prosecutors at a court hearing Monday whether they intend to seek the death penalty.

Senior Deputy Dist. Atty. Jim Ellison said his boss has delayed making a decision because he wants to review two psychiatric reports that should be completed this week.

Those reports were supposed to be filed weeks ago, but attorneys said they are taking much longer than expected.

Meanwhile, prosecutors want an additional psychiatric exam conducted by a third expert. Defense attorneys have objected to the request.

A hearing on the matter is set for Dec. 11.

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