Murder charges filed against a West Carson mother accused of killing her three young daughters carries a special allegation that could bring the death penalty, prosecutors said.
But the Los Angeles County district attorney's office said Friday it would decide later whether to seek the death penalty against Carol Coronado, 30.
Prosecutors charged Coronado on Friday with three counts of murder in the deaths of her daughters, identified by relatives as Sophia, 2 1/2; Yazmine, 16 months; and Xenia, 2 months. Coronado also faces special allegations that multiple murders were committed and that she used a deadly and dangerous weapon--a knife.
Coronado also was charged with one count of attempted murder for allegedly trying to kill her mother, according to the felony complaint filed in the case. Investigators said it was Coronado's mother who found her daughter naked and "covered with blood" on a bed next to the bodies of her own girls.
It was unclear when Coronado would be arraigned as she remained hospitalized Friday for self-inflicted wounds. Sheriff's officials said she would be transferred to the jail ward at the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center and booked there on the charges.
Los Angeles County sheriff's detectives were still trying to determine what prompted the slayings Tuesday evening at Coronado's home in the 1000 block of West 223rd Street.
Investigators were looking into Coronado's medical history and mental health, sheriff's Lt. Dave Coleman said, including whether she might have suffered postpartum depression after the birth of her youngest daughter.
Detectives removed several knives from the home, Coleman said. There was evidence the girls had been stabbed, he added, but it was unclear what other injuries they may have sustained.
Those who know the family said there was no indication anything was wrong. One relative said Coronado's husband--who was working on a pickup across the street when his daughters were killed--was "dazed and confused."
"Right now, he's giving her the benefit of the doubt," relative John Carrion said. "He just said he didn't believe he saw Carol — he saw a demon inside her. He said he doesn't blame Carol. He blames the … demon."
Carrion declined to speak further about the children's mother, saying only that he had never seen her angry.
"I don't know how I feel about the woman right now," he said. "I don't understand what was going on in that woman's head."