Mother And Boyfriend Appear Before Judge In Baby Death Case

By: Jared Cerullo Email
By: Jared Cerullo Email

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Two accused murderers were in an El Dorado courtroom Wednesday, but their preliminary hearing didn't happen. The case involves 18 month-old Jayla Haag, who died after a week of being on life support. El Dorado Police have said the girl's injuries were consistent with child abuse.

Alyssa Haag and Justin Edwards are charged with first degree murder in the baby's death.

Several points of contention were brought up during what was supposed to be the preliminary hearing on Wednesday. First and foremost, the delay. The preliminary hearing did not go off as scheduled, despite the defense attorney's objections.

County Attorney Darrin Devinney told Judge David Ricke that the final autopsy report from the coroner and other reports from police are not complete. He also said the defense is making a bigger deal out of the issue than it really is.

"It is of note, your honor, that the state is not obligated to provide any discovery before preliminary hearing," Devinney said. "Most times, these are events that can occur well beyond preliminary hearing."

The defense claims Devinney's office rushed to file charges.

"This is a difficult case," said David Moses, Edwards' attorney. "This is a case where there may be somebody who is not guilty sitting before you in orange. At best, it is a circumstantial evidence case at this time."

18 month-old Jayla Haag died in late March, but as the girl lay seriously injured in a hospital, we found Alyssa Haag at her apartment. When we asked her why she wasn't with her child, she simply said she couldn't be there. Then she called the police.

Back in court, this is the first time both Haag and Edwards have appeared together.

"Quite frankly, there are two people in custody at this point and it certainly seems appropriate to move this case along in an appropriate fashion," Judge Ricke said.

In spite of his reluctance, Ricke continued the hearing until June 5 and ordered the prosecution to turn over any reports, even partial ones, to the defense attorneys by May 29.

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