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 Sandra Cantu (9) R.I.P.

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Melinda
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PostSubject: Re: Sandra Cantu (9) R.I.P.   Thu May 13, 2010 7:34 am

Huckaby pleads guilty to Cantu murder
STOCKTON — Melissa Huckaby pleaded guilty Monday to kidnapping and murdering 8-year-old Sandra Cantu; in exchange, prosecutors took the death penalty off the table and dropped all other charges against her.

Huckaby could have received the death penalty had a jury convicted her of killing Sandra, whose body was found April 10, 2009, in a suitcase in a Tracy irrigation pond. Instead, Huckaby, 29, will spend the rest of her life in prison — without the possibility of parole — after she is sentenced June 14 in Stockton.

"Death is off the table," Prosecutor Thomas Testa said during Monday's hearing.

As part of the deal, the San Joaquin County District Attorney's Office dropped two enhancements to the murder charge — lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14, and rape by instrument — and one count of committing a sex crime against a child 10 years old or younger. Also dismissed were charges in two unrelated cases in which Huckaby was accused of drugging a Hayward man and another Tracy girl.

A gag order preventing parties from speaking about the case remains in place, but San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Linda Lofthus said she would give serious thought to lifting it. Because of the order, much about the case — including grand jury transcripts, Sandra's autopsy report and other facts about the crime scene — has been sealed from public view.

Monday's proceeding was originally scheduled to be a routine appearance for Huckaby and her attorneys, Sam Behar and Michael Burt, to set a date for an evidence-suppression hearing.

Relatives of both Huckaby and Sandra were in the courtroom when the defendant, clad in a red jumpsuit, entered the surprise guilty plea. Also present were members of the Tracy Police Department, including Chief Janet Thiessen, who had found themselves thrust into the national spotlight because of the case.

Testa asked Lofthus to question Huckaby about her state of mind during the plea, citing previous erratic behavior in jail that included reportedly tried to harm herself. Testa said he did not want Huckaby to change her mind or later say she did not understand what she was doing.

Lofthus spoke to Huckaby, who answered each question clearly and without hesitation or much emotion.

"She seems fine to me," Lofthus said.

After the hearing, Sandra's relatives hugged each other outside the courtroom. They declined to comment.

Outside the Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park in Tracy, where both Sandra and Huckaby lived, residents learned about the guilty plea from reporters, but said they were not surprised about the case's outcome.

"I'm glad she did (plead guilty),
because she did do it," said resident Susan Alley, who lives between the Cantu and Huckaby homes.

Alley said the tragedy had brought residents closer together, and that she now talks to neighbors she didn't before.

Sandra was last seen alive on March 27, 2009, in the mobile home park. After a 10-day search, the second-grader's body was found in a black suitcase in an irrigation pond not far from her home.

At a brief news conference Monday at Jacobson Elementary School, where Sandra used to go, Principal Cindy Sasser said the school community hoped the guilty plea could bring peace to Sandra's family and friends.

"I think everyone anticipated this day would come," she said.
http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_15054621?source=most_viewed&nclick_check=1

Timeline~
# MARCH 27: Sandra Cantu is reported missing about 8 p.m.
# MARCH 28: Police say she is a missing person and a search begins.
# MARCH 29: Hundreds of volunteers and dozens of law enforcement officers comb the area.
# MARCH 30: The case becomes a national news story.
# APRIL 6: A caller alerts San Joaquin sheriff"s dispatchers to a suspicious item "” a large, black rolling suitcase "” in an agricultural pond. Police confirm Sandra"s body is inside. Later in the evening an ambulance takes Melissa Huckaby to a hospital.
# APRIL 7: An autopsy is performed on Sandra, but no cause of death is released. A reward fund grows to $26,000.
# APRIL 9: Huckaby says a black suitcase had been stolen from her the day Sandra disappeared, and she also makes some conflicting statements. She goes to the police station and later is arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and killing Sandra.
# APRIL 14: Melissa Huckaby appears in court for first time, where she is charged with murder and rape, making her eligible for the death penalty. Documents detail a troubled past, including a divorce, financial problems and a criminal record of petty crimes.
# APRIL 15: Sandra"s family holds a private service for her.
# APRIL 16: More than 3,000 people gather at West High gym in Tracy for a public memorial service.
# JUNE 12: Huckaby pleads not guilty to murder, with enhancements of rape, kidnapping, and lewd and lascivious acts on a child.
# JULY 6: Huckaby"s ex-husband is granted custody of their daughter.
# JULY 31: San Joaquin County grand jury indicts Huckaby on murder with three special circumstances, and charges in the two unrelated cases.
# AUG. 17: Huckaby is arraigned.
# SEPT. 10: Huckaby pleads not guilty. The District Attorney"s Office says it will seek the death penalty if she is convicted.
# DEC. 4: Huckaby"s trial is set for Oct. 18, 2010.

# MARCH 8: Sandra Cantu"s family holds a memorial celebration on what would have been her ninth birthday.
# MARCH 27: One year passes since Sandra"s disappearance.
# MAY 10: Huckaby accepts a deal, pleading guilty to murder with a kidnapping enhancement. All other charges are dropped.
# JUNE 14: Huckaby is to be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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PostSubject: Re: Sandra Cantu (9) R.I.P.   Thu May 13, 2010 7:35 am


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PostSubject: Re: Sandra Cantu (9) R.I.P.   Sun Jun 13, 2010 10:12 am

Melissa Huckaby to be sentenced Monday for kidnap and murder of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu
June 12, 2010
Melissa Huckaby to be sentenced Monday for kidnap and murder of Sandra Cantu

On May 10, former Sunday school teacher Melissa Huckaby, 29, pleaded guilty to kidnapping and killing 8-year old Tracy, California girl Sandra Cantu. She is scheduled to be sentenced for those crimes on Monday.

Huckaby entered her plea in San Joaquin County Superior Court to a charge of first-degree murder with a special circumstance of kidnapping. As part of her plea deal, all other charges she faced, including rape and lewd or lascivious conduct with a child were dropped.

The original charges would have made Huckaby eligible for the death penalty had she been found guilty by a jury. She now faces a sentence of 25 years to life without the possibility of parole.

Sandra, 8, disappeared in March 2009 and was found shortly thereafter stuffed inside a suitcase in a drainage ditch. Huckaby was arrested several days later and charged with kidnapping, raping, and murdering Sandra. Authorities say Sandra was a playmate of Huckaby’s young daughter and each lived in the same mobile home park.

During the June 14 hearing, which is slated to start at 8:30 a.m. at the Stockton courthouse, Huckaby is expected to be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

In addition, at the same hearing Judge Linda Lofthus may decide whether the gag order on those involved in the case will be lifted and whether evidence and testimony in the case will be unsealed, according to the Tracy Press.

http://www.examiner.com/x-1168-Crime-Examiner~y2010m6d12-Melissa-Huckaby-to-be-sentenced-Monday-for-kidnap-and-murder-of-8yearold-Sandra-Cantu?cid=examiner-email


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PostSubject: Re: Sandra Cantu (9) R.I.P.   Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:56 am

Huckaby gets life without parole in killing of daughter's playmate
By the CNN Wire Staff
June 14, 2010 -- Updated 1819 GMT (0219 HKT)

Former Sunday School teacher Melissa Huckaby apologized Monday in a California courtroom after being sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing her daughter's 8-year-old playmate.



"It is not enough to say that I'm sorry, but that is all I can do," a tearful Huckaby told a hushed courtroom about the death of Sandra Cantu, whose body was found in a suitcase in a pond on a dairy farm 10 days after she disappeared in Tracy, California, in March 2009.

"From the day Sandra has died, I've had to live with the consequences of what I have done," said the tearful 29-year-old woman as she daubed her eyes and blew her nose. "For the rest of my life, I am going to have to live with these feelings of responsibility for her death. Not a day, not an hour goes by that I don't think about her."

She added, "I loved Sandra a great deal. She was a sweet, innocent little girl who did not deserve to have such a short life. I alone am responsible for her Sandra's death."
Dressed in a red prison jumpsuit and seated next to her lawyer, Huckaby directed comments to the victim's family. "I know that I have caused you a great deal of grief, and for that I am truly sorry," she said. "I should not have taken Sandra from you, and I want you to know she did not suffer and I did not sexually molest your daughter."

Huckaby also apologized to her own family -- including "my own daughter, whom I have lost" -- and thanked them for their support.

"I wish I could give you an explanation," she said. "I still cannot understand why I did what I did. Every day, I try to discover my motivation, but I still do not have an answer. This is a question I will struggle with for the rest of my life."

In a plea deal that removed the possibility of the death penalty, Huckaby admitted to the special circumstance of murder during the course of a kidnapping, which translates into life without parole. She has 60 days to appeal.

Prosecutors had charged Huckaby with murder, kidnapping, lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14, and rape by instrument.

San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Linda Lofthus lifted a gag order and said she would consider unsealing documents related to the case.

http://edition.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/06/14/huckaby.sentenced/index.html?iref=NS1

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PostSubject: Re: Sandra Cantu (9) R.I.P.   Wed Jun 16, 2010 1:24 am


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PostSubject: Re: Sandra Cantu (9) R.I.P.   Sun Jun 20, 2010 2:26 am

Melissa Huckaby news:
Grand jury transcript from Sandra Cantu murder trial, read entire document

June 19,2010

Melissa Huckaby news: Grand jury transcript from Sandra Cantu murder trial, read entire document

On Friday, authorities released the grand jury transcript from the Sandra Cantu murder trial, which contains details about the 2009 murder of the 8-year-old Tracy, California.

The document consists of over 1,900 pages of grand jury transcripts and other documents that reveal confessed murderer Melissa Huckaby was a “depressed woman with a troubled past and a penchant for cutting herself,” reports CBS 13 News.

The medical examiner who conducted the autopsy on Sandra’s body, Dr. Bennet Omalu, said that her killer demonstrated a “calm, calculating mind at work… This was not something heat of the moment.”

Sandra disappeared in March 2009 and was found several days later stuffed inside a suitcase placed in an irrigation ditch not far from the mobile home park where both the Huckaby and Cantu family lived.

The little girl had often played with Huckaby’s young daughter and the former Sunday school teacher eventually told investigators that Sandra’s death was a game of hide-and-seek that had gone terribly wrong.

She claims that Sandra climbed into one of Huckaby's suitcases while playing the game with her daughter. Huckaby zipped up the suitcase and forgot abut the little girl until it was too late and Sandra had died. Huckaby told investigators she “freaked out” and placed the suitcase in the irrigation pond.

Although Huckaby adamantly denies she sexually molested Sandra, the evidence suggests otherwise, including damage to the little girl's genital area.

Initially, Huckaby was charged with the kidnap, rape, and murder of Sandra, but the rape charge was dropped in a plea deal with the prosecution. Huckaby agreed to plead guilty to the kidnap and murder of the little girl in exchange for a life sentence.

http://www.examiner.com/x-1168-Crime-Examiner~y2010m6d19-Melissa-Huckaby-news--Grand-jury-transcript-from-Sandra-Cantu-murder-trial-read-entire-document?cid=examiner-email

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PostSubject: Re: Sandra Cantu (9) R.I.P.   Mon Jun 21, 2010 3:26 am

Records: Girl's killer had calm, calculating mind
By TERRY COLLINS and PAUL ELIAS (AP)
STOCKTON, Calif. — A forensic pathologist who examined the body of a Northern California girl found in a suitcase told a grand jury the killing showed a "calm, calculating mind at work," according to a transcript of the hearings released Friday.

Dr. Bennet Omalu, who conducted the autopsy, said the way the body of 8-year-old victim Sandra Cantu was placed in the suitcase after the killing showed the disposal of the body was likely premeditated.

"This was not something heat of the moment," Omalu said in July 2009. "This was a very calm, calculating mind at work."

San Joaquin County Superior Court officials unsealed more than 1,800 pages of transcripts just four days after Huckaby was sentenced to life in prison without parole. She pleaded guilty last month to kidnapping and murder charges.

Prosecutors also said in the documents that Huckaby checked herself into a hospital eight days after the March 27, 2009, murder after swallowing a razor blade.

Prosecutor Thomas Testa said Huckaby entered the hospital on April 4, 2009 — two days before the discovery of the child's body in an irrigation pond.

The documents showed Huckaby told investigators she accidentally swallowed the blade while sleepwalking. Testa contended the action showed the "consciousness of guilt."

Police quickly zeroed in on Huckaby as the prime suspect after Sandra's body was found. Authorities have never determined a motive for the killing.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5ifqBl1kMWh5a56KV4n_NalxeBJEgD9GE1HI00

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PostSubject: Re: Sandra Cantu (9) R.I.P.   Mon Jul 26, 2010 3:44 am


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PostSubject: Re: Sandra Cantu (9) R.I.P.   Wed Sep 29, 2010 4:43 am

lavendar lavendar

lavendar lavendar


June 14, 2010


2 Weeks after Melissa Huckaby's sentencing
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/38054548#38054548

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PostSubject: Re: Sandra Cantu (9) R.I.P.   Sun Dec 19, 2010 9:47 am

:candle:

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