Closing arguments presented in Shafter woman’s murder trial in death of newborn

Crime Watch

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A trial in the death of a newborn boy killed six years ago is drawing to an end after a prosecutor asked jurors to hold the child’s mother accountable for “cruelly and viciously” beating him to death, and defense counsel argued there is no direct evidence the mother inflicted the fatal injuries.

The jury began deliberating late Wednesday afternoon.

During a 50-minute closing argument Wednesday, prosecutor John Allen said the evidence shows Elvira Farias is guilty of both first-degree murder and a second charge of assaulting a child under 8 resulting in death and asked the jury to find her guilty.

Farias, 32, hid the baby’s body, an act that shows she was aware what she did was wrong, Allen said. She lied to Hall Ambulance personnel, Allen said, telling an EMT she hadn’t been pregnant.

Also, the prosecutor said, Farias’ mother reported her daughter had made threats to the unborn child just days before giving birth.

Calling it a “very difficult, emotional case,” Deputy Public Defender Kevin Moran in his 30-minute closing argument focused on the gaps in the timeline from when people last saw Farias pregnant to when the baby’s body was found.

The earliest Farias could have given birth was the early morning of June 18, 2015, after being released from a psychiatric facility where she was held for 12 hours. Farias was no longer pregnant when found in a Shafter park around 2 p.m. on June 19.

There is a 30-hour gap where it’s unclear what happened from when the earliest the baby could have been born to when his body was found at 5:38 p.m. on June 19, Moran said.

To find Farias guilty, Moran told jurors they would have to believe she “brutally assaulted” her own child even though she had family in the area to help her and there was a fire station nearby where she could have left the baby without facing legal repercussions.

Further, he said they’d have to believe that, having killed her child, she decided to stay within two blocks of his body and make no attempt to hide.

“It just doesn’t make sense given all the other options that she had and the knowledge that she had as well,” Moran said.

In response, Allen said it’s ridiculous to believe some “phantom stranger” killed the baby. He said testimony shows Farias made threats against the child, and her blood was all over the sweater in which the baby’s corpse was wrapped.

Farias has pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity. If she’s acquitted, the case is finished and she’ll go free.

If convicted, however, the jury must then decide whether she was sane at the time of the baby’s death. If found sane, she’ll receive life in prison. If not, she’ll be sent to a state hospital for treatment.

Farias, who was homeless, was connected by DNA evidence to the child, whose body was located hidden in bushes behind a Shafter medical office.

Farias’ and the baby’s DNA were on the sweater. Moran noted a third, unidentified person’s DNA was also found, but Allen said that’s not surprising because Farias was homeless and likely had contact with many people.

A pathologist determined the baby died from blunt force trauma and had suffered skull fractures, a broken rib and injuries inside his mouth. He had been choked and fingers or another object shoved inside his mouth.

Doctors estimated Farias had been 35 to 38 weeks pregnant. A pathologist said the baby was born healthy.

When you look at the series of actions taken to kill the baby, “that decision was made with a reflection and done with a purpose,” Allen said in arguing for a first-degree murder conviction.

“That’s cold and that’s calculated, a deliberate decision she made,” he said.

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