Advertisement

Judge says student can face trial for murder

June 12, 2007|From a Times Staff Writer

A USC student accused of abandoning her newborn son in a trash bin near campus may be tried for murder, a judge ruled Monday.

Holly Ashcraft sat impassively as Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Samuel Mayerson rejected arguments that there was no evidence that she intended for her son to die.

In March, Superior Court Judge David Wesley had dismissed the murder charge, ruling that prosecutors lacked proof that Ashcraft killed her son with criminal intent and malice. Defense attorney Mark Geragos had argued that the infant was stillborn.

An autopsy on the body, found in a trash bin by a homeless man, concluded that the baby had been born alive.

After Wesley's decision to dismiss the case, prosecutors immediately refiled a murder charge. Under California law, prosecutors can file the same charges twice. If charges are twice dismissed, prosecutors are permanently barred from filing a third time.

The murder charge carries a maximum prison term of 25 years to life. If the charge had been reduced to involuntary manslaughter, the maximum sentence would have been four years.

Ashcraft would not comment.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|