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Orange County

Half-Brothers Plead Not Guilty in Slaying of Mother, Whose Head, Hands Were Severed

August 02, 2003|Mai Tran | Times Staff Writer

Two half-brothers pleaded not guilty Friday in the slaying of their mother, whose headless, handless body was found in a ravine off Ortega Highway in January.

Jason Bautista, 20, and Matthew Montejo, 16, appeared with their new attorneys for their arraignment in a Santa Ana courtroom. They are being held on suspicion of first-degree murder and conspiracy. Bail has been set for each at $1 million.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Robert R. Fitzgerald ordered the two to return to court Sept. 12 for a trial-setting conference. The trial could take as long as three weeks, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Mike Murray.

Bautista and Montejo are accused of killing their mother, Jane Bautista, 41, and hiding her body parts inside a closet at the Riverside apartment they shared. Her body, clothed only in underwear, was found Jan. 15 by hikers alongside the highway near San Juan Capistrano.

Lawyers representing both defendants have said that the younger half-brother had nothing to do with the woman's death. Bautista's lawyer contends that the killing was provoked by years of abuse by their mother.

Police said the half-brothers got the idea to dismember her after watching "The Sopranos," an HBO drama about a dysfunctional New Jersey mob family.

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