Charges refiled in baby death

first_imgProsecutors refiled murder charges against a Southern California college student accused of abandoning her newborn son’s body in a trash bin after a judge dismissed the original count. Superior Court Judge David Wesley said Friday there was only sufficient evidence for Holly Ashcraft to stand trial on lesser charges of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment. “Not knowing clearly what the cause of death was, if an act or omission by this defendant could have or would have caused the death, not knowing in fact if she was capable of rendering aid, I cannot find implied malice,” Wesley said as he dismissed the murder charge. Prosecutors then refiled charges against Ashcraft, 22, of Billings, Mont., who was arrested in October 2005 after the newborn’s body was found by a homeless man sifting through trash behind a popular USC hangout. Legal experts said prosecutors can refile a criminal case once and the move is considered unusual. “They’re hoping to get another judge who will take a more generous view of the evidence,” said Loyola Law School professor Laurie Levenson. An autopsy report concluded the baby had been born alive because there was air in the lungs. The cause of death was listed as homicide. Ashcraft’s attorney, Mark Geragos, contends the baby was stillborn and cited medical evidence that stillborn babies can have air in their lungs. Geragos said his client, who attended the hearing, had been “within striking distance of putting this nightmare behind her.” Ashcraft’s bail was kept at $200,000 and she will remain under house arrest with electronic monitoring. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img