Man Suspected of Beating Wife Who Then Miscarried


A Santa Paula man is being held on suspicion of murder after police said Thursday he had beaten his pregnant wife, who then suffered a miscarriage and lost the unborn child.

Prosecutors reviewing the case are expected to decide today whether to charge Manuel Magana Magana, 52, with murder because the fetus was more than 3 months old when it died Wednesday night.

“It’s the district attorney’s opinion, through a recent Supreme Court decision, that anything beyond six or eight weeks is considered a homicide,” said Santa Paula Police Sgt. Gary Marshall.


Medical authorities are not certain that the miscarriage was a direct result of the mother’s injuries. Prosecutors have called in county medical experts to review the case.

Meanwhile, Magana is in custody at Ventura County Jail on suspicion of murder and spousal battery in lieu of $250,000 bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon in Ventura County Municipal Court, a jail official said.

His wife, 43-year-old Delia Magana, had numerous bruises across her body when she arrived at Santa Paula Hospital on Wednesday night, Marshall said.


A mother of seven who works at Egg City, Delia Magana has told police and hospital officials that her injuries resulted from a work-related accident. But investigators do not believe that explanation.

“I’ve already been up there (to Egg City) and there’s no way these injuries could be a result of her job function,” Marshall said.

Hospital officials alerted police because the woman had been treated previously for injuries that doctors and nurses suspected were the result of domestic abuse.


“According to the hospital staff, this is a continuing pattern of abuse over a period of time that she’s grown accustomed to,” Marshall said. “But she told us he only grabbed her.”

Magana became upset with his wife sometime before dinner Wednesday, police said.

“Apparently (the argument) had something to do with cooking eggs,” Marshall said. “He wanted her to cook him some eggs and I guess she didn’t jump quick enough. That’s what it boils down to.”

Family members contacted Thursday said the woman has returned home and is feeling fine. Pascual Magana, her adult son, said the miscarriage was unrelated to any beating his mother may have suffered.

“She did not lose the baby because of that,” Pascual Magana said Thursday.

Manuel Magana has no criminal convictions, according to court records.


Hospital officials first told police that Delia Magana miscarried because of the injuries inflicted by her husband. But Marshall said a supervising physician told him Thursday that he suspected the miscarriage might not have been a direct result of a beating.

“We’re still pursuing it with other medical experts to see what their opinion is,” Marshall said.

Prosecutors and district attorney’s investigators spent much of Thursday afternoon talking with experts from the coroner’s office and the Ventura County Medical Center to get second and third opinions on the cause of the miscarriage.


“We’ll review reports from Santa Paula police (Friday) morning, and then make a decision on what charges to file,” said Ronald C. Janes, who supervises the major crimes division of the district attorney’s office.

If prosecutors decide not to file a murder charge, Marshall said, Magana is likely to be charged with felony spousal abuse.

Photographer Helena Pasquarella contributed to this story.