Death Penalty Possible in Capital Murder Case of Infant, Court Date Set, Mom Likely to Testify against Step-DadJuly 11th, 2012 by Joe Burgess
The capital murder case of Aubriana Coke went before the Drew County Circuit Court, Tuesday afternoon, with details leading up to the October jury trial becoming more complete.
Prosecutor Thomas Deen confirmed to MLive that the prosecution, “intends to seek the death penalty for Daniel Pedraza,” the deceased infant’s step-father, in the case.
The first part of Tuesday’s hearing dealt with the request to replace an attorney on Daniel Pedaza’s defense team, but the new lawyer declined to answer Judge Bynum Gibson’s question of whether he could guarantee that his involvement in the case would not affect the October court date. Instead, head defense counsel Rosenswag, kept trying to answer, to the annoyance of the court. No final decision was reached on the issue.
As for discovery, the prosecution needs the defense’s list of witnesses, which reportedly isn’t complete yet, and the infant’s prior medical history Both the prosecution and defense need the “lab’s bench notes” from the state crime lab and DNA results.
Discussion continued about a possible plea bargain, reducing the charges against Victoria Pedraza to “Permitting Abuse,” (a class B felony) with her being required to “testify honestly” against Daniel Pedraza. A jury would set the sentence, if a plea bargain is reached.
Judge Gibson would not accept the plea bargain, unless, it can legal be reversed, if Ms. Pedraza’s testimony “changes in any material way,” such as claiming responsibility for the child’s death.
Rosenswag also made motions for a sequestered voirdire (jury selection questions) and severance (separating the two cases). Judge Gibson will rule on those motions, later.
The jury trial for one or both Pedrazas will be held the week of October 22.