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VENTURA : Insanity Plea Given in Baby Death Case

A migrant farm worker accused of killing one of her babies and trying to kill another has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

Francisca Jimenez Sanchez, 22, changed the plea Thursday in Ventura County Superior Court.

Judge Frederick A. Jones appointed two psychiatrists to examine Sanchez before her trial, scheduled to begin Jan. 6.

Court-appointed psychiatrists have already determined that Sanchez, who had pleaded not guilty earlier, is competent to stand trial.

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The new psychiatric examination will concentrate on whether, at the time of the alleged crimes, Sanchez understood the nature of her actions and could tell the difference between right and wrong.

Sanchez allegedly dumped her infant son into a portable toilet July 28 after giving birth while working in a Saticoy onion field.

The medical examiner’s office said the baby died from breathing wastes and chemicals.

In May, 1990, Sanchez allegedly tried to flush another baby down a toilet after giving birth at the Oxnard home where she lived, investigators said. That infant survived.

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Deputy Dist. Atty. Carol J. Nelson said she was not surprised by the new plea, which was entered by Sanchez’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Jean L. Farley.

Nelson said Sanchez’s trial will now be a two-part proceeding. In the first part, Nelson will attempt to prove that Sanchez committed the acts. If Nelson succeeds, the burden then will be on Farley to prove that her client was legally insane at the time.

Sanchez remains in the Ventura County Jail with bail set at $250,000.


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