02-12-2011, 11:51 AM #1
CA - Patricia Lopez, 17, charged with stabbing newborn to death, 7 Feb 2011
Calif. teen charged as adult in death of newborn The Associated PressPosted: 02/11/2011 01:43:09 PM PST Updated: 02/11/2011 01:43:09 PM PST
STOCKTON, Calif.—A 17-year-old Central California girl charged with murdering her newborn with a pair of scissors and burying her in a shallow grave is being charged as an adult. The Record of Stockton reports that Patricia Lopez of Holt was arraigned Thursday and charged with first-degree murder and child abuse. She did not enter a plea. Investigators say Lopez concealed her pregnancy from her parents. They believe she gave birth Monday in her family's mobile home and killed the baby in the bathroom. Lopez sought medical treatment Tuesday at a local hospital, prompting staff to contact the police. Investigators later found the buried remains of a premature infant near Lopez's home.If convicted, Lopez faces 26 years to life in state prison. She is scheduled to return to court Tuesday.
This was discussed at length last night on Nancy Grace show. High schooler hid pregnancy from parents. The baby was very premature, and a doctor who was interviewed stated that it was not viable, and probably did not even look like a human baby. Said the 17 year old probably acted out of shock, hormones out of whack, etc. But others callling in were clamoring for first degree murder charges.
Anyone care to weigh in on this?
02-12-2011, 12:48 PM #2
I would have to know more to weigh in fully. There are limited articles and information about this one.
I did find this one which has a bit more info in it and snipped this from it
In court Thursday, Judge Richard Guiliani read Lopez the charges and asked if she wanted to speak with an attorney. She responded with silence, as if confused.
"If there's somebody here who needs a lawyer, it certainly is you," Guiliani told her, next appointing an attorney to represent her.
02-12-2011, 12:52 PM #3
I'm having difficulty figuring out why they are charging her with 1st degree murder?
I'm in no way condoning what this young girl did, and find it heartbreaking. However, the cutoff for legal abortions ranges from 22 to 24 weeks, depending on the state. From the reports, it sounds as though the baby was judged within that range of gestation.
Again, wondering how they arrived at charging her as an adult with 1st degree when she likely could have obtained a legal abortion.
"I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
02-12-2011, 01:02 PM #4
I agree Velouria, I think the 1st degree charge is a bit premature, the prosecutor even states they have limited info, etc.
snipped from article I posted above
Deputy District Attorney Claire Van Vuren outside of court said the investigation remains in its early stages. She is waiting to learn more from the autopsy reports.
"We can't really speculate at this time what her motive was," Van Vuren said. "With the little information we have, we felt she should be tried as an adult."
02-12-2011, 01:38 PM #5
The articles are skimpy on details, but from what I've read, I think perhaps the DA has jumped the gun.
First of all, there is tremendous difference in the viability of a 22 week fetus compared to a 26 week fetus. The younger age has a less than 10% chance of surviving, and is still within the time where it would be considered a miscarriage instead of a stillborn. As others have noted, it would have been a legal abortion had the early delivery been caused deliberately by an abortion doctor. But by 26 weeks, viability has jumped to 80%, although lots of those children will have some severe side effects due to the early delivery.
Secondly, the article doesn't even say that the baby was born alive (autopsy results are not in yet) and there is no information on how the scissors were used.
I think if the autopsy doesn't prove that the baby took a breath, then the worst this young woman did was to treat the body of her fetus disrespectfully. (Not speaking from a moral point of view here, but from a legal point of view.....no breath, no life, right?) I also think the DA should have waited for the results of the autopsy before jumping to the first degree murder charge.
We have a slippery slope here, because as others have pointed out, if a fetus can be legally aborted at a certain stage of development, stating that the fetus is not alive at that time, then how can we turn around and say it is a living baby at the exact same stage of development, just because the circumstances of the "abortion" differ?
02-12-2011, 04:03 PM #6
Second trimester abortions are performed between 13.5 to 21.5 weeks of pregnancy and require from two (2) to three (3) consecutive clinic visits. (This is a private medical group policy.)
I take real exception to the comments on NG by "a doctor who was interviewed stated that it was not viable, and probably did not even look like a human baby."
By 16 weeks a ''fetus'' has lost that alien appearance and at 20 weeks is very much a miniature, developing human baby.
While I'm perfectly willing to withhold judgement until more facts are known, this teen "hid the pregnancy from her parents" so this is not a case of pregnancy denial - the father has been notified - another known.
"McElroy said Lopez's parents, two sisters and more than a dozen relatives came to court in a show of support."
1st degree and trial as an adult will probably be plead down - but if the comments regarding the baby being born alive and as yet unknown COD we'll see.
Sounds like a tragedy for all concerned.
02-12-2011, 04:18 PM #7
The reporter says the girl concealed the pregnancy. Whether that means she was conscious of it and actively concealed it or simply was a statement based on the fact that the parents did not know she was pregnant, I do not know.
Again, such limited facts on this one. It is entirely possible (not saying it is the case, again, too few facts, devils advocate here) that this young lady suspected her pregnancy but was unable to accept or face that fact, subconcsious denial could have been confronted with an early delivery, forcing a very fragile psyche to face the arrival of a premature child she had not even allowed herself to accept she was carrying as yet.
Again, not saying this is the fact, but given we have so few, I feel this is just as possible as a young lady consciously hiding her pregnancy from all and them cruelly, and with forethought, killing the child upon delivery.
We are not even sure if the child was born alive, autopsy results are not in yet, nor has COD been released. I will wait and see on this one before forming an opinion.
02-13-2011, 01:12 AM #8There is no original thought....
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My initial opinion, always subject to change, lol
I do not think murder charges are in order here. If the baby was full term, I would have a different stance.... I think....
I see a 17 yr old, who is scared, has not yet accepted she is having a baby, and then the baby comes way early. She didn't get a chance to accepted and share the news, and she freaked out. Whether the baby was born alive or not, she may not have known. Survival rates even at 26 weeks are dependant on proper medical care. Usually, an infant that young would need intervention IMMEDIATELY after birth. The baby could have been born alive and died within minutes, OR appeared to be dead. As a 17 yr old, would she know how to handle a situation like that?
What was her family/home life like? Was she a good student? Been in trouble before? Who lives in her house with her? WHere is Dad to this baby? I know her family was in court, but how are they behind closed doors? Strict? Accepting? Not making any assumptions, just wondering...
I think she needs counseling, some punishment, whether it be community service, maybe time in a lock up group home type setting... But I cannot for the life of me say MURDER charges.
And my feelings honestly surprise me, I usually want everyone accountable for their actions, to the fullest extent of the law, however, something about this case got to me. I feel this girl had a fear of something that caused her actions.... Either a fear or she is very uneducated, but either way, I think she deserves a break, and a lot of counseling.
Cannot wait to see the autopsy reports
02-13-2011, 01:17 AM #9Inactive
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Such a sad sad case. Like many others have said, I do not believe this warrants a 1st degree murder charge. I'll have to chime in more once the autopsy reports come out.
02-13-2011, 01:18 AM #10
First I want to know if the baby was 'born' or 'miscarried'.
02-13-2011, 12:17 PM #11
I think 1st degree in this case is overdoing it....
02-13-2011, 01:08 PM #12
i agree that not enough technical info is known to feel comfortable with what to charge her with... BUT i believe that the fact that she "hid" the pregnancy and then used some scissors for the final blow suggest to me that she thought that the child was alive. not only with this young lady but just in general i want to know what the heck is going on with our society relating to all of the depraved indifference to life that we have been seeing?? after the baby in the toilet last week and now this leaves me feeling just sort of sad and hopeless. because this girl hid the pregnancy and then murdered what she thought was a live infant says to me that she knows right from wrong and she consciously chose wrong. i have been in some sticky situations before in my life (nothing comparing to this) and i dont understand how a woman could do this without any thought to how they were going to have to live with this decision for the rest of her life. i do have friends that have had legal abortions and some of them are emotionally damaged from it... i couldnt imaging having the memories of doing something like what this girl did floating around in my head for the rest of my life. ...
02-13-2011, 01:56 PM #13
Like the abortionist in PA, killing the baby inhumanely outside the womb, would be murder. This is not my opinion, but the opinion of the prosecutor in the case.
The mom taking some sort of steps to cause the baby to be born prematurely, thus not surviving is kind of sketchy for a first degree murder charge.I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it left.
02-13-2011, 06:30 PM #14
First degree is a little overblown. Seems as if they are trying to make an example of this girl. Not something I support as facts often get lost in that situation.
Did it cry, was it breathing? Did she murder the child or did she simply deliver a dead baby that she was unprepared to deal with? Did she intentionally hide the pregnancy, or did she just not know how to tell them or know at all? Most woman don't get confirmation of a pregnancy until somewhere around 12 weeks, I can imagine that time being doubled for a teenage girl that likely didn't know how to make a doctor's appointment or was worried about her parents finding out if she was pregnant.
There is mindset and motive to consider here. If she set her mind on making sure that no one knew she was pregnant and making that baby disappear once it got here, then sure, she's a murderer. But if she was simply confused and scared, had no idea what to do with this thing that just came out of her, then what? Not murder, definitely something much less.JMO. Unless there's a link, I can't prove it.
02-13-2011, 07:43 PM #15
You know, if it weren't for the fact that scissors were used I would agree that it is overreacting on the part of the prosecutor but you have to remember that they know more then we do as far as the condition of the baby. Maybe the baby was injured or mutilated in such a way that they felt it warranted a first degree charge?
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