OXNARD : Mother Arraigned on Child Battery Charge

An Oxnard woman pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges of child endangerment and battery, two days after witnesses reported she dropped her 3-month-old baby over a 6-foot-high chain-link fence.

Witnesses told police that Aretha Chester dangled the infant over the fence Sunday in Sierra Linda Park while chasing after the child’s father, her boyfriend, who had jumped over the gate.

Municipal Judge Herbert Curtis III ordered the 23-year-old defendant held at the Ventura County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail.

As she waited in court to be led back to jail, Chester buried her face in her hands and sobbed. A preliminary hearing was set for Aug. 15.


Court officials said Chester has numerous past arrests and one conviction for battery, for which she is currently on probation.

Chester’s lawyer, Deputy Public Defender Neil B. Quinn, said that her past brushes with the law, including the battery charge, are not connected with any mistreatment of her infant or any other child.