Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Page 1 of 3 1, 2, 3  Next

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Michelle on Mon Jul 20, 2009 8:02 am

Huckaby's ex given custody of daughter / Also link about wiretaps in Huckaby's case

http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090708/A_NEWS/907080329
avatar
Michelle

Posts : 267
Join date : 2009-07-11
Age : 56
Location : Texas

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Guest on Tue Jul 21, 2009 3:58 pm

that entire case makes my stomach hurt

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Michelle on Wed Jul 22, 2009 7:44 am

Yes Deb, this case makes me sick (& mad). I was hoping with these wiretaps that anyone eles involved would be caught.I know MH is guilty ,but, there may be more to it than we know.

I worry what MH's daughter has had to go thru & I still think there are more people involved (or a child porn ring)

I always want justice, especially for children.Even though it won't erase their pain. I guess it is the Libra in me.
avatar
Michelle

Posts : 267
Join date : 2009-07-11
Age : 56
Location : Texas

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Guest on Wed Jul 22, 2009 7:55 am

I get physically sick just thinking about this poor child and after seeing her family so humbly greive. I know I should not judge, but there was/is such a sincere, tremendous difference between the way Sandras family publicly displayed their human, natural grief versus the Ants. My heart would and still does just ache for Sandras family.

I feel NO sympathy for MH nor her family. IMO, they HAD to have known she was a sicko........ and yes, I believe she had help with this murder as well. What REALLY makes me sick is to think after the vile torture she put this child through, after we saw her mental stats........ she will most likely walk on a mental defense.


Last edited by LostnChat on Wed Jul 22, 2009 7:58 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : addition)

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Guest on Wed Jul 22, 2009 8:02 am

By The Record
July 20, 2009 12:56 PM
STOCKTON – A secret grand jury began meeting today to hear evidence in the case of Tracy’s Melissa Huckaby, the Sunday school teacher accused in the kidnapping, rape and murder of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu.

http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090720/A_NEWS/90720005

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Michelle on Thu Jul 23, 2009 7:28 pm

Lostnchat,
the above link was moved,but,I found this

http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?Category=A_SPECIAL0263

Lots of info on Sandra Cantu's case
avatar
Michelle

Posts : 267
Join date : 2009-07-11
Age : 56
Location : Texas

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Guest on Thu Jul 23, 2009 8:02 pm

Thanks Michelle. I have another link too,but will have to find it in my madness filings here ( lol ). This childs vicious murder , IMO, should never have happend and is so sad b/c we all watch our children/g/children so closely, as Sandras Mother did....... and look how this happened. Just breaks my heart for Sandras family.

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Guest on Thu Jul 23, 2009 8:20 pm

LostnChat wrote:I get physically sick just thinking about this poor child and after seeing her family so humbly greive. I know I should not judge, but there was/is such a sincere, tremendous difference between the way Sandras family publicly displayed their human, natural grief versus the Ants. My heart would and still does just ache for Sandras family.

I feel NO sympathy for MH nor her family. IMO, they HAD to have known she was a sicko........ and yes, I believe she had help with this murder as well. What REALLY makes me sick is to think after the vile torture she put this child through, after we saw her mental stats........ she will most likely walk on a mental defense.


thats how I feel sick to my stomach when I even think of this case makes me so sick

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Booklover on Thu Jul 23, 2009 9:59 pm

LostnChat wrote:I get physically sick just thinking about this poor child and after seeing her family so humbly greive. I know I should not judge, but there was/is such a sincere, tremendous difference between the way Sandras family publicly displayed their human, natural grief versus the Ants. My heart would and still does just ache for Sandras family.

I feel NO sympathy for MH nor her family. IMO, they HAD to have known she was a sicko........ and yes, I believe she had help with this murder as well. What REALLY makes me sick is to think after the vile torture she put this child through, after we saw her mental stats........ she will most likely walk on a mental defense.
Hi, LostnChat! :flower: Great post! I completely agree with you. I think this psycho should be permanently removed from society. Mad
avatar
Booklover

Posts : 2244
Join date : 2009-07-10
Age : 67

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Guest on Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:29 am

I hope and pray this murderer does not walk. She knew right from wrong when she stuffed Sandra's little body in a darn suitcase. She knew right from wrong when she took the suitcase and tried to hide it in the irrigation pond. She knew right from wrong when she mislead the police. WHEW! I will now get off my soapbox. IMO there is nothing bad enough that they could do to this monster.

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Justice4all on Sat Aug 08, 2009 1:06 pm

http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090808/A_NEWS/908080324/

Landscape Structures donated $50,000 worth of playground equipment to Sandra Cantu's elementary school, and there was a small ceremony Friday to dedicate the new playground named after Sandra. Sandra's 15-year-old brother Thomas and 11-year-old sister Miranda were the first to use the Sandra Cantu Playground, and were then joined by a dozen other children. This was a very nice article.
avatar
Justice4all
Admin

Posts : 9745
Join date : 2009-07-02
Age : 43
Location : Michigan
Mood : Sleepy

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Piper on Sat Aug 08, 2009 1:20 pm

Thanks for posting this J4A, it brings tears to my eyes everytime I think of what little Sandra went through, or even when I read anything about her. It's great to see people come together and do these good deeds in honor of a precious child that was ripped from this world in such a brutal and horrific manner.
avatar
Piper

Posts : 10277
Join date : 2009-07-12
Mood : Innocent

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by FystyAngel on Sat Aug 15, 2009 2:24 am

Indictment in Sandra Cantu killing?

Although they won't explain why, San Joaquin County court officials say a hearing has been scheduled for Monday for Melissa Huckaby, the Sunday school teacher who allegedly raped and killed Tracy 8-year-old Sandra Cantu in March and dumped her body in a pond.

News of the hearing in Stockton comes after a secret grand jury finished up a review of evidence in the startling slaying. If Huckaby was indicted, she would have to be arraigned in court -- the beginning of the road toward trial.

Generally, prosecutors take cases to grand juries when they don't want to air evidence -- or identify witnesses -- in an open preliminary hearing. Defense attorneys aren't as fond of them; they aren't allowed in the room to call their own witnesses and rebut the charges.

Huckaby, 28, has pleaded not guilty to murder charges that make her eligible for execution if convicted. Her family members tell us they havent heard any news from the grand jury proceeding, and prosecutors and defense attorneys are mum so far. We'll keep you posted.
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/crime/detail?&entry_id=45357

_________________
We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly
avatar
FystyAngel
Admin

Posts : 5610
Join date : 2009-07-02
Age : 55
Mood : Neener

http://www.realitychatter.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by FystyAngel on Sat Aug 15, 2009 2:25 am

Melissa Huckaby to return to court early

STOCKTON — The Tracy woman accused of killing and raping her 8-year-old neighbor will return to court Monday, a month sooner than scheduled.

Melissa Huckaby, 28, was supposed to return to court in September, but the San Joaquin County Superior Court announced she will be in court 1 p.m. Aug. 17 for further proceedings.

A court spokeswoman said she was not at liberty to discuss the nature of those proceedings. A representative from the District Attorney's Office said they cannot comment on Monday's hearing. A gag order is in place in the case, preventing involved parties from discussing the case with the media.

Huckaby is accused of killing 8-year-old Sandra Cantu, her neighbor and her daughter's playmate. Sandra was last seen at the Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park on March 27. Her body was found April 6 inside a black suitcase dumped in a dairy pond off Whitehall Road in Tracy.

Huckaby, who told a Tracy newspaper she had a suitcase similar to the one in which Sandra's body was found, but that it was taken from her home, was arrested April 10. She faces a murder charge with three special circumstances — kidnapping, lewd and lascivious acts on a child and rape with a foreign object. In another case, Huckaby has been charged with two counts of furnishing a harmful substance and one count of child endangerment in what police say is the drugging of another child and a Hayward man.

Huckaby has entered not-guilty pleas to all charges and is in custody at San Joaquin County Jail.

A criminal grand jury was believed to have convened last month to hear evidence in the case. The proceedings are kept secret unless an indictment is made. If the grand jury met and they did issue an indictment, it would replace Huckaby's public preliminary hearing, in which a judge determines if there is enough evidence to try her on the charges. That hearing was scheduled to begin Sept. 24.

http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_13046449?source=rss

_________________
We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly
avatar
FystyAngel
Admin

Posts : 5610
Join date : 2009-07-02
Age : 55
Mood : Neener

http://www.realitychatter.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by FystyAngel on Sat Aug 15, 2009 2:29 am

Program started to tell on predators


Thurmont — The story of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu is what inspired Thurmont resident Charline Zalewski into activism.

Cantu was raped and murdered before being stuffed into a suitcase and thrown in a pond in her hometown of Tracy, Calif. earlier this year.

A stranger is not accused in her death. The accused is her next-door neighbor and the mother of one her friends.

“That kind of did it for me,” Zalewski said. “No one wants to talk about it, but we need to.”

Tired of similar stories like Sandra’s, Zalewski has started a program called S.T.O.P. — Speak up and Tell On Predators which teaches awareness, prevention education and empowerment to parents and children.

While children are taught to watch out for strangers, 90 percent of sexually abused children know or are related to their attackers, according to Childhelp.org.

Zalewski is among that 90 percent. A relative abused her as a child.

“Too often many parents ignore the statistics believing it could not happen to their child,” she said. “Unfortunately it can and will happen to anyone, anywhere.”

Now with a husband and two boys, she wants to help stop abuse and make sure no one goes through what she did.

http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/news/displayUpdate.htm?storyid=93892

_________________
We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly
avatar
FystyAngel
Admin

Posts : 5610
Join date : 2009-07-02
Age : 55
Mood : Neener

http://www.realitychatter.com

Back to top Go down

Grand Jury: Melissa Huckaby Indicted For Rape, Kidnapping And Murder

Post by FystyAngel on Tue Aug 18, 2009 6:37 am

http://www.fox40.com/news/headlines/ktxl-news-huckaby0817,0,7005606.story

Twenty-eight-year-old Melissa Huckaby broke down in tears as Judge Linda Lofthus read the indictment against her Monday.


Grand Jury: Melissa Huckaby Indicted For Rape, Kidnapping And Murder

STOCKTON - A San Joaquin grand jury has indicted a Sunday school teacher on charges she kidnapped, raped and killed an 8-year-old girl and drugged two other people.

Twenty-eight-year-old Melissa Huckaby broke down in tears as Judge Linda Lofthus read the indictment against her Monday.

Prosecutors convened a grand jury in late July rather than hold a preliminary hearing to determine whether Huckaby would stand trial. A trial date has not been set.

Huckaby previously pleaded not guilty to murdering 8-year-old Sandra Cantu, whose body was found stuffed in a suitcase pulled from an irrigation pond in April.

She also pleaded not guilty to charges drugging a 7-year-old girl as well as a 37-year-old man, whom police believe she had dated.

Melissa Huckaby Indictment (PDF)

Huckaby indicted in Cantu murder
http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?id=6968957&section=news/local/east_bay
TRACY, CA (KGO) -- The woman accused of killing a little girl from Tracy, returned to superior court Monday.
When Melissa Huckaby returned to San Joaquin County Superior Court, she had tears in her eyes -- and cuts on her face and arms.

By Wayne Freedman

TRACY, CA (KGO) -- The woman accused of killing a little girl from Tracy, returned to superior court Monday.

MOST POPULAR: Video, stories and more
SIGN-UP: Get breaking news sent to you from ABC7

When Melissa Huckaby returned to San Joaquin County Superior Court, she had tears in her eyes -- and cuts on her face and arms.
Story continues below
Advertisement

The wounds appeared to be fresh, but did not stop the court from filing a five-count grand jury indictment against her for kidnapping, raping, and killing 8-year-old Sandra Cantu, with new charges and of drugging two other people, including a child.

"People did note that there seemed to be scars or scratches on Ms. Huckaby's forehead and arms, there could have been an incident with another inmate or something else, but right now we don't know the details," ABC7 legal analyst Dean Johnson said.

Huckaby did not enter a plea to the new charges, but previously pleaded not guilty in the Cantu murder last March.

Back then, police found the second grader dead in a suitcase near the mobile home park in Tracy where she lived.

Monday's indictments make a public, preleminary hearing unneccessary and increase the possibility of a local trial.

Johnson says the sooner it begins, the greater advantage to the prosecution.

"The prosecution is ready to go to trial; they've had a dry run on their evidence before the grand jury, they know how their witnesses are going to perform, and they have witnesses, particularly young witnesses, whose memories may be fading, so the prosecution wants to push this to jury trial," Johnson said.

The indictment includes special circumstances for murder, kidnapping and rape of a child. The District Attorney's office has not yet said whether it will ask for the death penalty, but did say it has asked Cantu's family what they thought about it.

"We'll know within a month or two what his decision is on this case," Deputy District Attorney Thomas Testa said.

The defense said nothing about asking for a change of venue or a possible insanity plea.

Huckaby will appear in court again on September 10. On that day, the judge is likely to set a trial date.

Melissa Huckaby Indicted in Sandra Cantu Murder
http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20298450,00.html?xid=rss-topheadlines

Melissa Huckaby was indicted by a grand jury on Monday on charges that she murdered her daughter's 8-year-old playmate at their Tracy, Calif. mobile home park.

Huckaby, 28, allegedly murdered Sandra Cantu on March 27, stuffed her body into a suitcase and dumped it into a lagoon. The former Sunday school teacher pleaded not guilty to the murder earlier this summer.

Although Huckaby has made several court appearances since her arrest, the indictment – by a grand jury that secretly convened in Stockton July 20 to hear testimony in her case – means the Sunday school teacher will go straight to trial and bypass her preliminary hearing, which had been tentatively scheduled for Sept. 24.

Huckaby wept on Monday as San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Linda Lofthus read the indictment, which carries charges of kidnapping, rape, murder, and the drugging of Cantu and a 37-year-old man she may have dated.

During her court appearance Monday, it appeared she had scratches on her face and arms from a jailhouse incident, according to media reports. A trial date has not been set yet.

Melissa Huckaby Indicted In Sandra Cantu's Killing
A grand jury has indicted Melissa Huckaby on charges she kidnapped, raped and killed an 8-year-old girl and drugged two other people.
By KFBK News Team
Monday, August 17, 2009
28-year-old Melissa Huckaby broke down in tears as Judge Linda Lofthus read the indictment against her Monday.

Prosecutors convened a grand jury in San Joaquin in late July to determine whether Huckaby would stand trial. A trial date has not been set.

Huckaby previously pleaded not guilty to murdering 8-year-old Sandra Cantu of Tracy, whose body was found stuffed in a suitcase pulled from an irrigation pond in April.

Huckaby also pleaded not guilty to charges of drugging a 7-year-old girl as well as a 37-year-old man, whom police believe she had dated.

Huckaby Indicted In Kidnap, Rape, Murder Of Cantu

http://cbs2.com/national/Melissa.Huckaby.Sandra.2.1132452.html

A San Joaquin grand jury has indicted a Sunday school teacher on charges she kidnapped, raped and killed an 8-year-old girl and drugged two other people.

Twenty-eight-year-old Melissa Huckaby broke down in tears as Judge Linda Lofthus read the indictment against her Monday.

Prosecutors convened a grand jury in late July rather than hold a preliminary hearing to determine whether Huckaby would stand trial. A trial date has not been set.

Huckaby previously pleaded not guilty to murdering 8-year-old Sandra Cantu, whose body was found stuffed in a suitcase pulled from an irrigation pond in April.

She also pleaded not guilty to charges of drugging a 7-year-old girl as well as a 37-year-old man, whom police believe she had dated.

Sunday School Teacher Indicted in Kidnap, Rape, Murder of California Girl
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,540107,00.html
TRACY, Calif. — A San Joaquin County grand jury has indicted a Sunday school teacher on charges she kidnapped, raped and killed an 8-year-old girl and drugged two other people.

Melissa Huckaby, 28, broke down in tears as Judge Linda Lofthus read the indictment against her Monday.

Prosecutors convened a grand jury in late July rather than hold a preliminary hearing to determine whether Huckaby would stand trial. Lofthus said the grand jury transcript would not be made public.

Defense attorney Sam Behar asked the judge to postpone setting a trial date because he said he did not have time to read the lengthy transcript. A hearing to set a date was scheduled for Sept. 10.

Huckaby previously pleaded not guilty to murdering 8-year-old Sandra Cantu, whose body was found stuffed in a suitcase pulled from an irrigation pond in April.

Huckaby is charged with murder with the special circumstances of rape, kidnapping and lewd or lascivious conduct with a child under 14, which could make her eligible for the death penalty if convicted.

Sandra was last seen on a surveillance camera skipping near her Tracy home just five doors down from the defendant.

Huckaby also pleaded not guilty to drugging a 7-year-old girl earlier this year as well as a 37-year-old man, whom police believe she had dated. She is charged with two counts of furnishing someone a harmful substance and one count of child endangerment in the drugging case.

avatar
FystyAngel
Admin

Posts : 5610
Join date : 2009-07-02
Age : 55
Mood : Neener

http://www.realitychatter.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by FystyAngel on Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:10 am




Former Topekan Indicted in Sandra Cantu Rape, Murder
A Sunday school teacher with ties to Topeka was indicted Monday; Melissa Huckaby charged with kidnapping, raping and killing an eight year old California girl.

http://www.wibw.com/crime/headlines/53517357.html
STOCKTON, Calif. -- (CBS News) A San Joaquin County grand jury has indicted a Sunday school teacher on charges she kidnapped, raped and killed an 8-year-old girl and drugged two other people.

Melissa Huckaby broke down in tears Monday as Superior Court Judge Linda Lofthus read the indictment against her. The reading came after prosecutors convened a grand jury last month to determine whether Huckaby would stand trial.

Lofthus said the grand jury transcript would remain sealed. No trial date has been set.

Huckaby, 28, is accused of killing 8-year-old Sandra Cantu, a playmate of Huckaby's young daughter. Sandra went missing in March in Tracy, her hometown in Northern California. A massive search for her ended 10 days later when her body was found stuffed in a black suitcase pulled from an irrigation pond a few miles from the mobile home park where she lived.

Defense attorney Sam Behar asked Lofthus to delay setting a trial date, saying he has not read the indictment or lengthy transcript because he's in the middle of another trial.

But Deputy District Attorney Thomas Testa said he delivered a copy of the indictment to Behar's office earlier this month. "He's had a lot of time to read this indictment," Testa told Lofthus.

The judge then proceeded to read the indictment charges to a weeping Huckaby, who appeared in court with two fresh scratches above her right eyebrow. Neither Behar nor Testa would comment on the nature of Huckaby's injuries after Monday's hearing. A gag order barring attorneys, investigators and potential witnesses from commenting on the case remains in effect.

Huckaby in June pleaded not guilty to killing Sandra as well as to charges that she previously had drugged a 7-year-old girl and a 37-year-old man, whom police believe she had been dating. The girl and Huckaby lived in the same mobile park. She and her ex-husband used to live in the Topeka area.

Huckaby is charged with two counts of furnishing someone a harmful substance and one count of child endangerment in the drugging cases.

In the case involving Sandra Cantu, Huckaby is charged with murder with the special circumstances of rape, kidnapping and lewd or lascivious conduct with a child under 14, which could make her eligible for the death penalty if convicted. Sandra was last seen on a surveillance camera skipping near her home just five doors down from the defendant.

On Monday, Huckaby entered the courtroom smiling, but her demeanor became tearful and somber as the indictment was read and debate on her next court appearance ensued.

Testa said the district attorney's office is treating the case as if it will be a death penalty case, but no decision is expected for at least two months.

Prosecutors convened a grand jury instead of holding a preliminary hearing in the case to ensure a speedy trial and avoid a possible change of venue. Testa also told Lofthus he wants a speedy trial because the case involves minors and should be made a priority.

Lofthus countered that it would be premature to set a trial within 30 days because Behar had not seen the indictment or the voluminous grand jury testimony.

"We need to do the case one time, and we need to have the case done right," the judge said. "The defense needs time to prepare."

Lofthus then scheduled a Sept. 10 hearing to discuss possible trial dates. Huckaby remains in the San Joaquin County Jail without bail.

Sunday School Teacher Indicted In Death
Suspect Appears In Court With Cuts Above Right Eye

http://www.kirotv.com/news/20435520/detail.html
STOCKTON, Calif. -- A grand jury indicted Sunday school teacher Melissa Huckaby on charges she kidnapped, raped and killed an 8-year-old named Sandra Cantu and drugged two other people.

Huckaby, 28, broke down in tears as Judge Linda Lofthus read the five-count indictment against her Monday, Sacramento's KCRA-TV reported.

Huckaby also appeared to have two cuts above her right eye, but it was not immediately clear how those injuries occurred.

Cantu's disappearance from a trailer park, the discovery of her body and the child's funeral drew national media attention.

Prosecutors convened a grand jury in late July rather than hold a preliminary hearing to determine whether Huckaby would stand trial. A trial date has not been set.

A prosecutor said a determination on whether to seek the death penalty will be made in the next 60 days or so.

Huckaby previously pleaded not guilty to murdering Cantu, whose body was found stuffed in a suitcase pulled from an irrigation pond north of Tracy in April.

Huckaby also pleaded not guilty to charges drugging a 7-year-old girl as well as a 37-year-old man, whom police believe she had dated.

Huckaby is being held without bail.

Melissa Huckaby Indicted: Sandra Cantu Murder Indictment
http://military.rightpundits.com/2009/08/17/melissa-huckaby-indicted-sandra-cantu-murder-indictment/
A California grand jury has delivered a five count indictment of Melissa Huckaby; indicted for the kidnap, rape and murder of 8 year old Sandra Cantu. Back in April, Melissa Huckaby pled not guilty to killing the 8 year old who’s body had been found stuffed into a black suitcase and found in an irrigation pond near Huckaby’s home.
As well as the Sandra Cantu indictment, Melissa Huckaby was indicted for attempting to drug a 7 year old girl and a 37 year old man. Authorities say that the 7 year old recovered but are unaware of what happened to the man.

The indictment includes kidnapping, lewd and lascivious acts with a minor, and rape with a foreign object. Melissa Huckaby could face the death penalty if convicted of these heinous crimes. The Melissa Huckaby indictment includes new charges that surfaced in April.

An 18 year old woman said that her 7 year old sister disappeared with Huckaby and came back drugged. From ABC News:

“Her speech was slurred … like she had a really bad lisp,” the woman said of her sister. “And she would cry a lot like something was wrong with her. She couldn’t stand up without help. She couldn’t walk. Every time she tried to walk, she would fall.”

“So they took her to the hospital, and the hospital told us that she had muscle relaxants in her system,” the teenager said.

The 18 year old alleges that Sandra Cantu may still be alive if authorities had taken her sister’s case more serious. Melissa Huckaby by all accounts was a decent individual, she lived with her grandparents and 5 year old; her grandfather was the pastor at a local church where Melissa Huckaby was a Sunday School teacher.

With Melissa Huckaby indicted, now comes another painful chapter to this story for the family; the trial. Perhaps this will help in the healing process for a family that has gone through something most of us can not even imagine. Melissa Huckaby’s trial date has not been set.



Sunday school teacher indicted in CA girl's death
http://ap.thecabin.net/pstories/us/20090817/482786637.shtml
STOCKTON, Calif. — A San Joaquin County grand jury has indicted a Sunday school teacher on charges she kidnapped, raped and killed an 8-year-old girl and drugged two other people.

Melissa Huckaby broke down in tears Monday as Superior Court Judge Linda Lofthus read the indictment against her. The reading came after prosecutors convened a grand jury last month to determine whether Huckaby would stand trial.

Lofthus said the grand jury transcript would remain sealed. No trial date has been set.

Huckaby, 28, is accused of killing 8-year-old Sandra Cantu, a playmate of Huckaby's young daughter. Sandra went missing in March in Tracy, her hometown in Northern California. A massive search for her ended 10 days later when her body was found stuffed in a black suitcase pulled from an irrigation pond a few miles from the mobile home park where she lived.

Defense attorney Sam Behar asked Lofthus to delay setting a trial date, saying he has not read the indictment or lengthy transcript because he's in the middle of another trial.

But Deputy District Attorney Thomas Testa said he delivered a copy of the indictment to Behar's office earlier this month. "He's had a lot of time to read this indictment," Testa told Lofthus.

The judge then proceeded to read the indictment charges to a weeping Huckaby, who appeared in court with two fresh scratches above her right eyebrow. Neither Behar nor Testa would comment on the nature of Huckaby's injuries after Monday's hearing. A gag order barring attorneys, investigators and potential witnesses from commenting on the case remains in effect.

Huckaby in June pleaded not guilty to killing Sandra as well as to charges that she previously had drugged a 7-year-old girl and a 37-year-old man, whom police believe she had been dating. The girl and Huckaby lived in the same mobile park.
Huckaby is charged with two counts of furnishing someone a harmful substance and one count of child endangerment in the drugging cases.

In the case involving Sandra Cantu, Huckaby is charged with murder with the special circumstances of rape, kidnapping and lewd or lascivious conduct with a child under 14, which could make her eligible for the death penalty if convicted. Sandra was last seen on a surveillance camera skipping near her home just five doors down from the defendant.

On Monday, Huckaby entered the courtroom smiling, but her demeanor became tearful and somber as the indictment was read and debate on her next court appearance ensued.

Testa said the district attorney's office is treating the case as if it will be a death penalty case, but no decision is expected for at least two months.

Prosecutors convened a grand jury instead of holding a preliminary hearing in the case to ensure a speedy trial and avoid a possible change of venue. Testa also told Lofthus he wants a speedy trial because the case involves minors and should be made a priority.

Lofthus countered that it would be premature to set a trial within 30 days because Behar had not seen the indictment or the voluminous grand jury testimony.

"We need to do the case one time, and we need to have the case done right," the judge said. "The defense needs time to prepare."

Lofthus then scheduled a Sept. 10 hearing to discuss possible trial dates. Huckaby remains in the San Joaquin County Jail without bail.

_________________
We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly
avatar
FystyAngel
Admin

Posts : 5610
Join date : 2009-07-02
Age : 55
Mood : Neener

http://www.realitychatter.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by FystyAngel on Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:14 am

Sunday School Teacher Indicted
http://www.kfi640.com/cc-common/mainheadlines3.html?feed=153218&article=5888644

Melissa Huckaby has been indicted for the kidnapping, rape and murder of an 8 year-old girl.
A grand jury has indicted 28 year-old Melissa Huckaby on charges she kidnapped, raped and killed an eight-year-old girl Northern California girl and drugged two other people.

Huckaby broke down in tears as Judge Linda Lofthus read the indictment against her Monday.

Prosecutors convened a grand jury in San Joaquin in late July to determine whether Huckaby would stand trial. A trial date has not been set.

Huckaby previously pleaded not guilty to murdering Sandra Cantu, whose body was found stuffed in a suitcase pulled from an irrigation pond in April.

Huckaby also pleaded not guilty to charges of drugging a 7-year-old girl as well as a 37-year-old man, whom police believe she had dated.


Sunday school teacher indicted in CA girl's death
http://www.kvia.com/Global/story.asp?S=10944340
STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) - A San Joaquin County grand jury has indicted a Sunday school teacher on charges she kidnapped, raped and killed an 8-year-old girl and drugged two other people.

Melissa Huckaby broke down in tears Monday as Superior Court Judge Linda Lofthus read the indictment against her. The reading came after prosecutors convened a grand jury last month to determine whether Huckaby would stand trial.

Lofthus said the grand jury transcript would remain sealed. No trial date has been set.

Huckaby, 28, is accused of killing 8-year-old Sandra Cantu, a playmate of Huckaby's young daughter. Sandra went missing in March in Tracy, her hometown in Northern California. A massive search for her ended 10 days later when her body was found stuffed in a black suitcase pulled from an irrigation pond a few miles from the mobile home park where she lived.

Defense attorney Sam Behar asked Lofthus to delay setting a trial date, saying he has not read the indictment or lengthy transcript because he's in the middle of another trial.

But Deputy District Attorney Thomas Testa said he delivered a copy of the indictment to Behar's office earlier this month. "He's had a lot of time to read this indictment," Testa told Lofthus.

The judge then proceeded to read the indictment charges to a weeping Huckaby, who appeared in court with two fresh scratches above her right eyebrow. Neither Behar nor Testa would comment on the nature of Huckaby's injuries after Monday's hearing. A gag order barring attorneys, investigators and potential witnesses from commenting on the case remains in effect.

Huckaby in June pleaded not guilty to killing Sandra as well as to charges that she previously had drugged a 7-year-old girl and a 37-year-old man, whom police believe she had been dating. The girl and Huckaby lived in the same mobile park.

Huckaby is charged with two counts of furnishing someone a harmful substance and one count of child endangerment in the drugging cases.

In the case involving Sandra Cantu, Huckaby is charged with murder with the special circumstances of rape, kidnapping and lewd or lascivious conduct with a child under 14, which could make her eligible for the death penalty if convicted. Sandra was last seen on a surveillance camera skipping near her home just five doors down from the defendant.

On Monday, Huckaby entered the courtroom smiling, but her demeanor became tearful and somber as the indictment was read and debate on her next court appearance ensued.

Testa said the district attorney's office is treating the case as if it will be a death penalty case, but no decision is expected for at least two months.

Prosecutors convened a grand jury instead of holding a preliminary hearing in the case to ensure a speedy trial and avoid a possible change of venue. Testa also told Lofthus he wants a speedy trial because the case involves minors and should be made a priority.

Lofthus countered that it would be premature to set a trial within 30 days because Behar had not seen the indictment or the voluminous grand jury testimony.

"We need to do the case one time, and we need to have the case done right," the judge said. "The defense needs time to prepare."

Lofthus then scheduled a Sept. 10 hearing to discuss possible trial dates. Huckaby remains in the San Joaquin County Jail without bail.

_________________
We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly
avatar
FystyAngel
Admin

Posts : 5610
Join date : 2009-07-02
Age : 55
Mood : Neener

http://www.realitychatter.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Piper on Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:16 pm

Burn in Hell, MH. All of your attempts at suicide are futile, they will do you no good. You will never be released from the torment of what you put little Sandra through. You just don't want to appear in court, you chicken shit. Your jailhouse tears are for you and only you. A public stoning and hanging still wouldn't be punishment enough for what you've done. A "weeping Huckaby"...makes me sick to my stomach. Mad
avatar
Piper

Posts : 10277
Join date : 2009-07-12
Mood : Innocent

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by FystyAngel on Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:44 pm

Piper, that is exactly how I felt the whole time that I was updating this thread. I thought I'd vomit. Torture, complete torture still would not be enough IMO for a punishment for her. One of the saddest things is, even if she were to get the death penalty, even that is done swiftly & humanely. TOTALLY NOT ACCEPTABLE IMO. Eye for an eye or screwdriver for screwdriver, sounds more like a better punishment to me. (sorry if I offend anyone)

_________________
We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly
avatar
FystyAngel
Admin

Posts : 5610
Join date : 2009-07-02
Age : 55
Mood : Neener

http://www.realitychatter.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Justice4all on Fri Sep 04, 2009 5:41 pm

Melissa Huckaby, suspect in Sandra Cantu case, acted oddly and tried to harm herself in jail

STOCKTON — Melissa Huckaby acted strangely and apparently tried to harm herself in the days leading up to her last court appearance, San Joaquin County Court records show.
The 28-year-old Tracy woman is accused of kidnapping, killing and raping Sandra Cantu, her 8-year-old neighbor, and drugging two other people in cases unrelated to Sandra's. Huckaby, whose 5-year-old daughter was Sandra's playmate, is being held without bail at the San Joaquin County Jail.
Jail records in Huckaby's court file said that two days before her most recent court hearing on Aug. 17, Huckaby was found hiding behind the mattress in her cell with a blanket tied around her neck. She was taken to the safety cell, the records said, and later that day she refused to eat dinner.

http://www.contracostatimes.com/california/ci_13262753

She has tried to harm or kill herself more than once. It looks like she either wants to get out of paying for her crime by either having herself declared mentally incompetent or by suicide.
avatar
Justice4all
Admin

Posts : 9745
Join date : 2009-07-02
Age : 43
Location : Michigan
Mood : Sleepy

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by FystyAngel on Fri Sep 04, 2009 11:00 pm

Sorry but I feel NO sympathy for her. Is she REALLY wants to kill herself, instead of putting her in a "safety cell", they should hand her some rope & a chair & let her go for it. Save taxpayers a shit load of money to support her sorry ass. (JMO)

_________________
We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly
avatar
FystyAngel
Admin

Posts : 5610
Join date : 2009-07-02
Age : 55
Mood : Neener

http://www.realitychatter.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by FystyAngel on Sat Sep 05, 2009 4:57 pm

Decision on death penalty looms
Word on fate of Huckaby may come next week


By Scott Smith
The Record
September 04, 2009 12:01 AM

STOCKTON - Prosecutors could announce as early as next week if they plan to seek a death sentence against Melissa Huckaby, the Tracy woman charged with raping and murdering 8-year-old Sandra Cantu.

Huckaby, 28, was arrested in April, days after she allegedly kidnapped Sandra and dumped her body in a dairy pond. Huckaby now faces trial on charges that also include drugging a 7-year-old girl and a 37-year-old man.

An ever-growing file at the San Joaquin County Superior Court gives some insight into the case that continues to resonate with San Joaquin County residents.

Sixteen FBI agents and 20 Tracy police officers participated in the investigation of Sandra's March 27 disappearance from the Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park. About 75 witnesses testified before the grand jury that indicted Huckaby.

The file also gives some answers to two bright red scratches above Huckaby's right eye seen Aug. 17 in her last court appearance, the Contra Costa Times reported Thursday.

Records say that two days before the hearing, jailers found Huckaby hiding behind a mattress in her cell and she had tied a blanket around her neck. She also refused to eat dinner, the newspaper reported.

A nurse and psychiatrist checked her out Aug. 12. A jailer noticed Huckaby next to her bed with a trash can and asked what was wrong. Huckaby said, "I took pills." Huckaby told jailers she felt dizzy and passed out, the story says.

Huckaby has a history of hurting herself, her ex-husband, John Huckaby, has said in court documents filed to win custody of Madison, the couple's 6-year-old daughter. Melissa Huckaby was hospitalized days after Sandra disappeared for swallowing three razor blades, her ex-husband said.

In Huckaby's last court appearance, Superior Court Judge Linda Lofthus told Huckaby that she had to be at all of her hearings. The judge and attorneys hinted at her misbehavior at the jail but gave no specifics in the hearing.

"Hopefully, that doesn't happen again," Lofthus said at the time.

Huckaby's attorney, San Joaquin County Deputy Public Defender Sam Behar, is expected to enter a plea on his client's behalf in the hearing set for Thursday. The judge could set a date for Huckaby's trial then.

http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090904/A_NEWS/909040321

New Details Emerge About How Huckaby Injured Self

CBS13 has now learned how Melissa Huckaby, the woman accused of killing Sandra Cantu, tried to harm herself in her jail cell.

When Melissa Huckaby last appeared at the Stockton Courthouse she had a cut above her eyebrows which raised some questions.

Apparently, two days before Huckaby appeared in court on August 17, she was found hiding behind the mattress in her cell with a blanket tied around her neck. She was then taken to a safety cell, and later that day she refused to eat dinner.

A few days prior, a deputy found her sitting next to a bed with a trash can. When he asked her what was wrong, she said she had swallowed some pills. She was then rushed to a local hospital.

All of this is detailed in court records obtained by the Contra Costa Times and published on Thursday. CBS13 tried to obtain the court records, but due to budget cuts, the records office closed at 3 p.m. Thursday instead of 5 p.m.

Melissa Huckaby is being charged with kidnapping, raping and killing eight-year-old Sandra Cantu of Tracy, California.

Huckaby is due back in court a week from Thursday to enter a plea.

Click here to read the Indictment

_________________
We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly
avatar
FystyAngel
Admin

Posts : 5610
Join date : 2009-07-02
Age : 55
Mood : Neener

http://www.realitychatter.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by FystyAngel on Sat Sep 05, 2009 5:04 pm

Sandra Cantu playground dedicated in Tracy
A PLAYGROUND in memory of Sandra Cantu has been erected at Jacobson School in Tracy, where the 8-year-old was a student until her disappearance in March.

After an intense search, her body was found April 6 in a black suitcase in a dairy pond just outside Tracy.

Now Jacobson students have a place where they can at once play and remember their classmate.

The playground was constructed and inspected at no cost to the school, Jacobson Principal Cindy Sasser said.

"We were recently approached by a Minnesota-based company that also has an office in Modesto," she said. "After hearing the story, they offered to donate the playground in Sandra's memory. It wasn't long after that other companies stepped up and offered to help as well."

The result is a multilevel structure with a number of slides, poles and a climbing wall.

"And the kids are just thrilled," Sasser added. "It's so popular that my husband said we should treat it like Disneyland and start offering 'fast passes' to cut down the line."

Cantu's death marked the end of the last school year, and Sasser said the Jacobson community has not forgotten the tragedy as the new year gets under way.

"Sandra is still in our hearts and is mentioned on campus often," she said. "She will always be a part of this community and this school."

Tracy resident Melissa Huckaby was arrested a few days after Cantu was found, and is currently awaiting trial on murder charges.

Delta College's board responds to grand jury: During a special meeting of the Delta College board of trustees on Tuesday, the final response to last year's grand jury investigation was approved and will now be sent to the county.

"The problems have been addressed and we feel we are on the right track," Delta President Raul Rodriguez said of the response. "Now we can concentrate on having a great school year."

The grand jury recently released its final report on its 2007-08 investigation, which was launched amid public concerns over management of the college's $250 million Measure L facilities bond.

After significant changes to the board and the committee that oversees the bond, the grand jury determined the Delta board has "a renewed sense of ethics and responsibility, both to the community and the students, and has done much to restore the grand jury's confidence."

The report went on to state that "unlike the former board, the current board has demonstrated the ability to work together."

The grand jury applauded the board for adopting a "code of ethics" and "standards of good practice" as a means of "defining responsibility and conduct of individual board members."

The grand jury recommended that Delta College "amend the bylaws of the Citizen's Oversight Committee to require monthly meetings, timely review of Measure L expenditures and review projects before authorization by the board of trustees."

"We have addressed each of those concerns," Rodriguez said. "With our response now approved by the board, the matter should be closed and we can move forward."

http://www.insidebayarea.com/trivalleyherald/localnews/ci_13194496

Sandra Cantu's family finds support at Modesto vigil


When 9-year-old Sandra Cantu disappeared in March, Boni Driskill's voice cut through the fog of pain that surrounded the girl's family.

Driskill contacted Sandra's family shortly after the girl disappeared from her Tracy mobile home park. Driskill lost her daughter, Lacy Ferguson, in 2003, an innocent bystander in what authorities believe was a gang-related shooting at a south Modesto convenience store. Her killer has not been found.

Sandra's body was found in a suitcase in April. Melissa Huckaby, a neighbor of Sandra and her family, has been charged and is awaiting trial.



"Somebody understood, somebody knew what we were feeling," said Sandra's grandfather, Joe Chavez. Others wanted to help, he said, but they hadn't experienced the same soul-crushing grief.

"(Boni) gave us comfort," said Sandra's mother, Maria Chavez. "She was there to support us."

On Monday evening, in a shady corner of Paradise Park in west Modesto, the Chavezes joined Driskill and other crime victims for a candlelight vigil to mark the sixth anniversary of Ferguson's death.

Joe Chavez said he and his family attended to show support for other crime victims' families. Some at the vigil still don't know who killed their loved ones.

Chavez said he couldn't talk about Sandra's case. But the Chavezes spoke freely about Driskill and the bond they've formed with her and other members of Wings of Protection. Susan Levy, mother of 2001 murder victim Chandra Levy, helped start the support group. Driskill joined a few years ago.

Joe Chavez said Driskill offered something that other people couldn't: true understanding. "It's all about experiencing the death and grief that never ends," he said.

Now Driskill is a friend of the Chavez family, calling regularly to check in and going on family outings, said Sandra's 21-year-old sister, Simone Chavez.

At Monday's vigil, family members of murder victims stood up one by one to say aloud the names of their loved ones. A gallery of loss stood nearby. A poster-sized photo of Sandra Cantu was propped next to framed collages of Ferguson. The family of murder victim Nancy Arellano added a photo as well.

Cindy Arriola, whose nephew Chris Sisk was murdered in 2007, pressed reward fliers into hands.

A heart-shaped "Happy Birthday" balloon bobbed in one corner. It was for Ferguson's daughter, Haleigh, who turned 3 the day her mother was murdered.

The Chavezes did not stand up to say Sandra's name; a friend spoke on the family's behalf.

"It's hard for us to say anything because we're still too much involved in this loss, but we wanted to be here to support the other victims," Joe Chavez said after the vigil. "It's a club nobody wants to belong to."

Bee staff writer Leslie Albrecht can be reached at lalbrecht@modbee.com or 578-2378.

http://www.modbee.com/crime/story/828755.html


Modesto Bee - Boni Driskill wears a piece of paper taped to the back of her T-shirt for her daughter that reads "In Loving Memory Lacy Marie Ferguson, 1978 - 2008 Always in our Hearts," while Ciara Sterans sings at the vigil honoring 2003 murder victim Lacy Ferguson at Paradise Park in Modesto, August. 24, 2009. (DEBBIE NODA/ dnoda@modbee.com)


Modesto Bee - At center, Susan Levy, mother of Chandra Levy aids Boni Driskill during the start of the ceremony where everyone gathers and holds hands at the vigil honoring 2003 murder victim Lacy Ferguson at Paradise Park in Modesto, August. 24, 2009. (DEBBIE NODA/ dnoda@modbee.com)


Modesto Bee - Lacy Ferguson's daughter, Haleigh, and Lacy's mom, Boni Driskill, talk about Ferguson at the vigil honoring Ferguson at Paradise Park in Modesto, August. 24, 2009. (DEBBIE NODA/ dnoda@modbee.com)

_________________
We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly
avatar
FystyAngel
Admin

Posts : 5610
Join date : 2009-07-02
Age : 55
Mood : Neener

http://www.realitychatter.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Justice4all on Thu Sep 10, 2009 5:03 pm

The San Joaquin County District Attorney announced today that they are seeking the death penalty for Melissa Huckaby. Huckaby has pleaded not guilty to murdering Sandra Cantu. Huckaby asked the judge for a new attorney at today's hearing.

http://www.ksbw.com/news/20838400/detail.html
avatar
Justice4all
Admin

Posts : 9745
Join date : 2009-07-02
Age : 43
Location : Michigan
Mood : Sleepy

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Piper on Sat Sep 12, 2009 9:39 pm

STOCKTON — A prosecutor said today that he will seek the death penalty against the woman accused of kidnapping, raping and murdering 8-year-old Tracy girl Sandra Cantu.

Melissa Huckaby, 28, was indicted in July on charges that she murdered Sandra during commission of rape, and drugged two other people. She pleaded not guilty today to the charges after a hearing where she tried to fire her attorney, public defender Sam Behar. Her request — made in private while the prosecutor, the public and reporters waited outside — was denied and her reasons for wanting another attorney were undisclosed.
http://www.tracypress.com/pages/full_story/push?article-Prosecutors+to+seek+death-+Huckaby+fails+to+fire+her+attorney%20&id=3570187-Prosecutors+to+seek+death-+Huckaby+fails+to+fire+her+attorney&instance=home_most_popular
avatar
Piper

Posts : 10277
Join date : 2009-07-12
Mood : Innocent

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by FystyAngel on Mon Sep 21, 2009 12:40 am

Could gender spare Huckaby?
Death penalty seldom meted out to women

STOCKTON - California's death row for women holds 16 inmates at a remote prison in Chowchilla. They're convicted of murdering other women, their husbands, their children and other people's children.

Prosecutors in Stockton believe one more woman belongs among their ranks - 28-year-old Melissa Chantel Huckaby of Tracy.

Before they can lock her away, San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Thomas Testa must convince a jury that Huckaby, who once taught Sunday school at her grandfather's church, committed the most heinous of crimes.

The facts alleged in the case - the kidnapping, rape and murder of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu - make his job sound easy. But asking jurors to send a woman to her death could come with bigger obstacles than trying a man.

"It's going to be much harder," said noted Bay Area defense attorney Daniel Horowitz, commenting on the case.

Stereotypically, women are the victims and not the perpetrators. Men commit sadistic and brutal crimes against children or multiple murders, which are the hallmark of death penalty cases, Horowitz said.

Horowitz said San Joaquin County Deputy Public Defender Sam Behar, who represents Huckaby, will almost certainly put the focus on her mental illness bolstered by possible childhood abuse that Huckaby may have suffered.

"Any good defense attorney has to think there's a reasonable chance that happened," he said. "If that is the case, she's not going to be executed."

Huckaby also is charged with poisoning a 7-year-old girl and a 37-year-old man. Both survived. She then allegedly kidnapped Sandra, a neighbor girl who was raped, killed and dumped at a dairy's drainage pond in a black suitcase.

Not everybody agrees that Huckaby can beat a death sentence if prosecutors prove she committed these crimes.

Steven Clark, a San Jose attorney who has closely watched the case unfold, said jurors may learn that Huckaby taught Sunday school and therefore held a position of trust.

"A jury isn't going to be very sympathetic to her situation," Clark said. "I don't see it's an advantage for her being a woman."

Statistics point in a different direction. For every California woman condemned to die, there are nearly 43 men.

http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090920/A_NEWS/909200310/-1/NEWSMAP#STS=fzuq6zpd.21rd

_________________
We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly
avatar
FystyAngel
Admin

Posts : 5610
Join date : 2009-07-02
Age : 55
Mood : Neener

http://www.realitychatter.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by FystyAngel on Tue Sep 29, 2009 8:54 am

Trial date on hold
After hour-long meeting with judge, Huckaby defense team gets more time

STOCKTON - The attorney for Tracy's Melissa Huckaby made an impassioned plea in court Friday, scoring a minor victory by persuading a judge to give him more time before setting the date for his client's death-penalty trial.

San Joaquin County Deputy Public Defender Sam Behar's face flushed and his voice rose as he told the judge that he could not begin the trial as quickly as the prosecution wanted in a motion filed with the court.

"That motion is frivolous, preposterous and I think an affront to due process," Behar said. "I don't know how the court can regard that in any other way."

San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Linda Lofthus admonished Behar's for what she called his tirade. Nonetheless, the judge later agreed that setting the date was premature. The judge had been expected to announce the start of Huckaby's trial. She hoped to begin in March.

Instead, it could be December before Lofthus again considers the question.

Huckaby, 28, awaits trial on charges she kidnapped, raped and murdered 8-year-old Sandra Cantu, a playmate of her daughter and neighbor of the Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park in Tracy. Sandra disappeared March 27.

Days later, farm workers found Sandra's body in a black suitcase and dumped in a dairy's drainage pond a couple miles north of town. Huckaby also is accused of drugging a 7-year-old girl and a 37-year-old man.

The urgency for prosecutors lies with three girls who are expected to testify in Huckaby's trial. One is the girl Huckaby allegedly drugged and the second is an 11-year-old who last saw Sandra before she vanished.

San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Thomas Testa fears the memories of the children could fade. That's why he wants to hold Huckaby's trial sooner rather than later.

As a remedy, Behar asked the judge to hold so-called conditional hearings, where the young witnesses would give their testimony before a video camera, thus preserving their statements on tape to be played later for jurors.

Testa opposed the move, saying the law only allows for conditional hearings in the case of a witness who is near death or expected to leave the country - like a soldier being deployed to Iraq. Lofthus sided with Testa, denying Behar's request.

Behar, who came to court with a large pull cart stacked with boxes of evidence binders, next asked Lofthus for a private hearing to explain why he needed more time to prepare his defense.

Lofthus cleared the courtroom of everybody except Behar, Huckaby and bailiffs. Lofthus met with the defense for about an hour before allowing the prosecutor and the public back inside.

Lofthus said she could not discuss what happened in the closed-door hearing, but she said Behar's request for time was founded. She also said she feels Behar has been working diligently on the case.

Testa again pushed for an earlier trial date. He said Behar's move was a "ploy to delay" the trial. Still, Lofthus agreed to wait, saying she wanted to ensure a fair trial for both prosecutors and the defense.

"If we picked a trial date now, it would be meaningless," she said. "I can tell you that there are critical issues concerning the case."

Lofthus set a hearing for Oct. 30 and a second on Dec. 4 when Behar will report back on his progress of his defense. At the December hearing, Lofthus said she hopes Behar will be ready to propose a trial date.

http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090926/A_NEWS/909260329#STS=g06ndark.1ty9

_________________
We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly
avatar
FystyAngel
Admin

Posts : 5610
Join date : 2009-07-02
Age : 55
Mood : Neener

http://www.realitychatter.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Justice4all on Fri Oct 30, 2009 3:38 pm

Melissa Huckaby expected back in court today

TRACY, CA (KGO) -- The Tracy woman accused of killing 8-year-old Sandra Cantu returns to a Stockton courtroom for another hearing on Friday.

MOST POPULAR: Video, stories and more
SIGN-UP: Get breaking news sent to you from ABC7

The attorney for Melissa Huckaby is expected to ask a judge to throw out the indictment that charges his client with Cantu's kidnapping, rape and murder.
Story continues below
Advertisement

A trial date could also be set. Police have not talked about a motive in the case.

Huckaby has pleaded not guilty to the charges. She lived in the same trailer park as Cantu.

The girl's body was found in a suitcase in a canal last April, after she was reported missing.

LINK: Read the indictments against Huckaby

http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/local/east_bay&id=7091178

I don't understand why these defense lawyers always waste time trying to get the charges dropped. If they can't produce evidence that their client didn't commit the crime, then they shouldn't bother wasting the court's time.
avatar
Justice4all
Admin

Posts : 9745
Join date : 2009-07-02
Age : 43
Location : Michigan
Mood : Sleepy

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Justice4all on Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:59 pm

Prominent attorney joins Huckaby defense team

STOCKTON, Calif.—A prominent criminal defense attorney will help defend the Tracy woman accused of killing 8-year-old Sandra Cantu and stuffing the girl's body into a suitcase.

San Francisco attorney Michael Burt, who has represented the "Night Stalker" Richard Ramirez and Lyle Menendez among others, will work on Melissa Huckaby's case alongside public defender Sam Behar.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against the 28-year-old former Sunday school teacher, who is charged with murdering, raping and kidnapping Cantu. She has pleaded not guilty to all counts.

Officials say the money to pay Burt will come from a special fund in the public defender's office for death penalty cases.

Meanwhile, Behar Friday filed motions to suppress evidence and dismiss the indictment against Huckaby.

http://www.mercurynews.com/california/ci_13680231
avatar
Justice4all
Admin

Posts : 9745
Join date : 2009-07-02
Age : 43
Location : Michigan
Mood : Sleepy

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Booklover on Sat Oct 31, 2009 1:20 am

Isn't it sad that people who kill children are treated with such consideration by the Justice System? Sad Crying or Very sad not fair What about the rights of the murdered children? Mad Evil or Very Mad They are being thrown away like trash, as if they don't matter!!!! Mad Evil or Very Mad
avatar
Booklover

Posts : 2244
Join date : 2009-07-10
Age : 67

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Justice4all on Fri Dec 04, 2009 10:08 pm

Melissa Huckaby’s Trial Almost a Year Away

STOCKTON, Calif. (KCBS) -- The trial of the woman accused of kidnapping, raping and killing 8-year-old Sandra Cantu is scheduled to start on October 18, 2010, more than a year and a half after her arrest.

The 28-year-old was indicted in July after being taken into custody in April. The judge set the trial date on Friday.

Huckaby has pleaded not guilty to Cantu’s murder, and not guilty to charges she drugged two other people.

San Joaquin County prosecutors had been pushing for a speedy trial because they say younger witnesses who may testify could have a difficult time recalling specifics in the case.

They are seeking the death penalty.

http://www.kcbs.com/Melissa-Huckaby-s-Trial-Almost-a-Year-Away/5822935
avatar
Justice4all
Admin

Posts : 9745
Join date : 2009-07-02
Age : 43
Location : Michigan
Mood : Sleepy

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Justice4all on Sat Feb 13, 2010 2:07 pm

Judge grants request by Huckaby's attorney for evidenciary hearing delay



By Scott Smith
Record Staff Writer
February 13, 2010 12:00 AM

STOCKTON - A Tuesday court hearing for Melissa Huckaby, a Tracy woman charged with the kidnapping, rape and murder of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu, has been delayed at the defense attorney's request, a prosecutor said Friday.

San Joaquin County Deputy Public Defender Sam Behar wanted more time to prepare for a hearing on his motion to suppress evidence to be used against his client, San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Thomas Testa said.

The suppression hearing in Huckaby's case was rescheduled for April 12 and it could last up to one week. Huckaby is next due back in court on March 29 for a readiness conference, Testa said.

San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Linda Lofthus granted Behar's request. Testa said he did not oppose the time extension because he is busy in another murder trial, also being heard in Lofthus' courtroom.

Behar asked for more time so he could acquire information, but Testa said he could not further explain Behar's written motion because of the judge's gag order preventing involved parties from discussing details of the case.

Behar declined to comment on the delay when contacted Friday.

Despite the delay, Huckaby's trial date remains set for Oct. 18. The 28-year-old faces a death sentence if she is convicted on all charges. Tracy police arrested her days after Sandra vanished from her mobile home park on March 27.


http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100213/A_NEWS/2130327
avatar
Justice4all
Admin

Posts : 9745
Join date : 2009-07-02
Age : 43
Location : Michigan
Mood : Sleepy

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Justice4all on Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:31 pm

Memorial planned for Sandra Cantu's birthday
Feb 14, 2010



A little girl who relatives say was happy every day of her life would want everyone else to be happy on what would’ve been her ninth birthday.

So on March 8, the family of Sandra Cantu will celebrate her memory at Robert Kenner Park next to Jacobson Elementary School, where she was a student.

Janet Anderson, a cousin of Maria Chavez, Sandra’s mother, said she’s spearheading the small public get-together so her family has something to look forward to.

She said as the anniversary of the little girl’s death approaches, Sandra’s family wants to focus on their love for her.

“This is something simple that might be a good way of not concentrating on such a horrible time, but what she represents,” she said.

Anderson said the celebration is also a way to thank countless volunteers.

Hundreds of locals helped the police and the FBI search for Sandra in the more than a week she was missing, and so many more supported the family through a trying year, she said.

“I personally think the family would’ve never made it without the community support,” she said. “They stepped up to the plate, from the littlest things to the biggest things. I’ve never seen a community come together so much, and I’ve lived here 17 years.”

Tracy police chaplain Don Higgins will speak, and cupcakes, donated by a local business, will be served.

Higgins said the “phenomenal” way people came together shows Tracy’s community-oriented spirit.

“Sandra was the epitome, in a lot of people’s minds, of innocence, and that which we need to protect,” he said. “I think it really speaks to how this community views children and that we’re willing to go to great extremes to take care of them, protect them and watch out for them.”

Sandra disappeared last March from the Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park, where she lived. Ten days later, her body was found inside a suitcase floating in an irrigation pond north of town.

Melissa Huckaby, a neighbor whose daughter used to play with Sandra, is awaiting trial on homicide, rape and kidnapping charges, and could face the death penalty if convicted.

At a glance

• WHAT: Remembrance Ceremony for Sandra Cantu

• WHEN: 7 p.m. March 8

• WHERE: Robert Kenner Park, 1850 Kavanaugh Ave.

• INFO: 321-5981


http://www.tracypress.com/view/full_story/6184306/article-Memorial-planned-for-Sandra-Cantu-s-birthday?instance=home_news_lead_story
avatar
Justice4all
Admin

Posts : 9745
Join date : 2009-07-02
Age : 43
Location : Michigan
Mood : Sleepy

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Snaz on Tue Feb 16, 2010 8:39 pm

I'm glad they are doing this.... I hope the family can have just a moment of happiness as they remember their beautiful little Sandra.

I just can't imagine being in their shoes.

Thanks for posting, J4A....

_________________

Updated 1/22/11
avatar
Snaz

Posts : 4972
Join date : 2009-07-11
Location : Florida
Mood : Whistling

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Justice4all on Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:13 pm

Sandra Cantu investigator named 'Officer of the Year'

By Sophia Kazmi
Contra Costa Times
Updated: 02/17/2010 01:33:59 PM PST

TRACY — The lead investigator of the Sandra Cantu homicide case has been honored as "Officer of the Year" by the local American Legion post.

Detective Timothy Bauer was recognized Saturday by Post 172 in Tracy.

As the lead detective, Bauer coordinated the efforts of hundreds of people from state and federal agencies that led to the April 10 arrest of suspect Melissa Huckaby, Sandra's neighbor. The 8-year-old disappeared March 27. Her body was found April 6 after an intense search that captured national media attention.

Huckaby, 28, who has pleaded not guilty to raping and murdering Sandra, is being held without bail at San Joaquin County Jail. Her trial has been set for Oct. 18.

In addition to Sandra's case, Bauer was the lead detective on multiple robbery and other criminal cases. He is one of the founders of the department's Shop with a Cop winter holiday program and a supporter of the Special Olympics of Northern California.

Bauer is also the department's Officer of the Year.


http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_14419528?nclick_check=1
avatar
Justice4all
Admin

Posts : 9745
Join date : 2009-07-02
Age : 43
Location : Michigan
Mood : Sleepy

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Justice4all on Tue Mar 02, 2010 9:29 pm

Huckaby investigators being investigated

By The Record
March 02, 2010 4:24 PM

STOCKTON — Several Tracy police detectives investigating Melissa Huckaby's alleged murder and rape of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu have fallen under an internal probe themselves, court papers say.

Huckaby's public defender appears ready to argue that a Tracy detective violated his client's constitutional rights — triggering the internal investigation — by making an undisclosed comment to her the day she was arrested.

San Joaquin County Deputy Public Defender Sam Behar is expected to ask a judge to toss evidence out of Huckaby's upcoming death penalty trial based on the officer's alleged violation.

Behar's arguments are scheduled for a week-long hearing next month.

Read Wednesday's Record for more on this story by staff writer Scott Smith.


http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100302/A_NEWS/100309954
avatar
Justice4all
Admin

Posts : 9745
Join date : 2009-07-02
Age : 43
Location : Michigan
Mood : Sleepy

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Justice4all on Tue Mar 02, 2010 9:33 pm

Huckaby's public defender appears ready to argue that a Tracy detective violated his client's constitutional rights — triggering the internal investigation — by making an undisclosed comment to her the day she was arrested.

San Joaquin County Deputy Public Defender Sam Behar is expected to ask a judge to toss evidence out of Huckaby's upcoming death penalty trial based on the officer's alleged violation.
Please don't tell me that they can toss evidence out of Huckaby's trial just because of a comment an officer made to her. I guess it's a good thing I'm not an officer because I'd have plenty of not so nice things to say to people who murdered innocent children.
avatar
Justice4all
Admin

Posts : 9745
Join date : 2009-07-02
Age : 43
Location : Michigan
Mood : Sleepy

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Snaz on Tue Mar 02, 2010 9:53 pm

It will be interesting to see what the comment was... I'm going to reserve judgment until we find out what it was. But I'm with you, J4A... I'd have plenty of not so nice things to say, too!

_________________

Updated 1/22/11
avatar
Snaz

Posts : 4972
Join date : 2009-07-11
Location : Florida
Mood : Whistling

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Justice4all on Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:35 pm

Extended family celebrates Sandra Cantu's life in Tracy

By Jennie Rodriguez
Record Staff Writer
March 09, 2010 12:00 AM

TRACY - Cupcakes, music, balloons and plenty of people celebrating. It's the way Sandra Cantu would have wanted her birthday observed, her family said.

So on the day she would have turned 9 years old, they did just that. The public came, not to mourn a loss but to celebrate a vibrant little girl's life.

"Every moment is now a celebration in heaven," Tracy police Chaplain Don Higgins said. Hundreds of people gathered for the birthday party Monday night at Jacobson Elementary School, which Sandra attended.

"Only joy will bring tears to Sandra's eyes now," Higgins said.

About a year ago, Sandra was reported missing, and days later her body was found in an irrigation pond just north of the mobile home park where she lived with her mother and siblings. It had only been about a month after her eighth birthday.

Her neighbor, Melissa Huckaby, is charged with the murder and rape of Sandra.

A year later, memories of the search and the loss of "Tracy's angel" are still fresh in the minds of community members. Monday's birthday observance was bittersweet for many.

"It's a little emotional in two ways," said Tracy resident Leigh-Ann Thompson, 42. "You have to stop and think it's a celebration, but at the same time, things go on in your head about what happened."

The birthday memorial included musical performances by 12-year-old local folk singer AJ Lee and the Tracy Community Choir.

Angie Chavez, Sandra's second cousin, talked about her memories of Sandra, a little girl full of happiness and gumption.

"One day, she told me she wanted to be a nurse when she grew up," Chavez recalled. "She had a lot of questions, and she wouldn't hesitate to ask them."

Sandra was a friendly girl. "Sandra was full of love. ... Sandra would be the first to greet you. ... She would ask if you needed help in the kitchen," Chavez said. "She also had an infectious laugh."

Sandra's relatives also shared a photo slide show with the community, whom they say has become somewhat of an extended family.

Tears were shed among the crowd, as they were captivated by images that captured Sandra's smiles on Halloween, Christmas and other birthdays.

"You just feel for the family and their sweet little girl," said Jana Pace, a 44-year-old Tracy resident who attended the event Monday.

Sandra may no longer be physically here, but her grandfather Joe Chavez Sr. said her memory remains strong in the community.

"I thank everybody for showing up," he told those gathered. "Thank you. Thank you."


http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100309/A_NEWS/3090332
avatar
Justice4all
Admin

Posts : 9745
Join date : 2009-07-02
Age : 43
Location : Michigan
Mood : Sleepy

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Piper on Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:59 pm

It's nice to see the community honoring Sandra on her birthday and embracing her family. This is one of the most heinous and vicious of crimes to be committed against a child. It's still so hard for me to grasp that a woman, a mother herself, could ever do something like this to a little girl.
avatar
Piper

Posts : 10277
Join date : 2009-07-12
Mood : Innocent

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Guest on Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:54 am

I'm glad they went to celebrate her life - i hope she can stay in the public spot light - we need to never forget what happened to her at the hands of a female adult. It should serve as a reminder for us that our children are not safe even with a female - we often perceive female's as "safe" - but evil can be present regardless of gender. And Huckaby's gender shouldn't excuse her from the DP - neither should an officer's comments to her on the day she was arrested - I would argue that the officer could have been under duress after what he just saw that that devil just did to a little girl - maybe it was an officer that saw Sandra's body. I'm sure he had plenty to say to Melissa that day - I would have to!!

I often wonder about Sandra's playmate and Huckaby's daughter and how she's doing - she's a victim too - knowing at such a young age that her mother killed and raped one of her friends has to be very damaging. I hope that she can get the help that she needs. My heart goes out to that little girl and what she must be going thru.

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Piper on Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:35 am

Huckaby's lawyer wants hearing delay


March 26, 2010 12:00 AM

STOCKTON - Melissa Huckaby's attorney wants to delay an April suppression hearing, because he has yet to receive the results of a probe into alleged misconduct by a Tracy police detective, court papers say.

San Joaquin County Deputy Public Defender Sam Behar said in a motion filed Wednesday that for "strategic reasons" he also has not viewed physical evidence in the case, and he needs to obtain numerous items from the court's file.

Huckaby, 29, awaits a death penalty trial on charges she kidnapped, raped and murdered 8-year-old Sandra Cantu one year ago. She is also charged with drugging a 7-year-old girl and a 37-year-old man.

In court Monday, Behar and San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Thomas Testa are to say if they are ready for the April 12 hearing on a motion Behar filed to suppress evidence collected against his client for reaching the trial.

Through his request for more time, Behar said he will ask San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Linda Lofthus for a closed-door hearing to explain specifically why he needs the delay.

Among reasons for the delay, Behar said he has not received the results of an internal probe into Tracy police Detective Nate Cogburn.

Behar has said Cogburn and several other Tracy officers fell under investigation to determine if the detective violated Huckaby's constitutional rights the day she was arrested by making an undisclosed comment to her.

Behar said in court papers that he wants to delay the hearing to a date "deemed suitable by the court."

http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100326/A_NEWS/3260318/-1/NEWSMAP
avatar
Piper

Posts : 10277
Join date : 2009-07-12
Mood : Innocent

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Piper on Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:42 am

Besides not having the results of the officer's alleged misconduct, the defense has not viewed physical evidence yet? Due to strategic reasons and he still needs to get more files? This sounds like it's just plain stalling to me.
avatar
Piper

Posts : 10277
Join date : 2009-07-12
Mood : Innocent

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Justice4all on Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:17 pm

A year later -- the pain remains in loss of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu

By Sophia Kazmi
Contra Costa Times
Updated: 03/26/2010 04:54:03 PM PDT

TRACY — A year ago today a little girl from Tracy disappeared.

Much has happened since Sandra Cantu was last seen alive. A family still grieves. A police department learned valuable lessons. A community rediscovered its strength and generosity.

"It overwhelms the human mind that people can be so considerate, to take time out of their daily life to think about a little girl and her family," said Joe Chavez, Sandra's grandfather, recalling how hundreds braved the rain and the cold this month to attend a March 8 birthday celebration for Sandra, who would have been 9 that day.

Sandra was last seen alive March 27, 2009, a security camera tracking her as she skipped down the street at the Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park, where she lived.

A search began the next day. Fliers were posted around town and hundreds of volunteers looked for the little girl. The search garnered attention from the national media, all asking, "Where's Sandra?" A picture of the smiling second-grader flashed across news broadcasts for days.

After 10 days of looking, her body was found in a suitcase in an irrigation pond about two miles from her home. Four days later, on April 10, her neighbor Melissa Huckaby was arrested on suspicion of killing her. Huckaby lived with her grandparents at the mobile home park and taught Sunday school at Clover Road Baptist Church, her grandfather's church.

The investigation took thousands of hours and the help of hundreds of people, said Tracy police Sgt. Tony Sheneman, a department spokesman.

"It was the single largest investigation in the 98-year history of the department," he said.

Huckaby, 29, has been indicted on charges of kidnapping, raping and killing Sandra. The indictment also alleges she drugged another Tracy girl, a 7-year-old who also lived at the mobile home park, and a Hayward man, in separate incidents unrelated to Sandra's death. The mother of the 7-year-old said Huckaby took her daughter without permission and that she appeared drugged when she was returned.

Huckaby has pleaded not guilty to all counts. Her trial is slated to begin Oct. 18 in Stockton. Prosecutors said they will seek the death penalty if she is convicted. She is due back in court Monday to confirm a date for an evidence suppression hearing.

Chavez said the past year has been hard on the family, who still live in the mobile home park. Christmas was miserable, he said, but they are trying to be strong for the other children in the family.

Time has helped a little, but family members still find themselves emotional over the loss.

"We're still angry," Chavez said. "We still think about it every day. Every minute of every day. It doesn't go away."

While the pain remains, Chavez said they have found support in the community.

"When something like this happens, you don't know who to turn to," he said. The family wondered who would be there for them. It turned out to be their neighbors and businesses in town.

"It's just, I can say, amazing, and you wonder how other communities cope with this," he said.

Playground equipment and a garden were donated in Sandra's name. A tree with pink flowers — her favorite color — now grows at Robert Kenner Park next to Jacobson Elementary, where Sandra attended school.

"They wanted to do something positive in her memory and trying to celebrate the positive things and not dwell on the negative," said Cindy Sasser, principal at Jacobson.

Sandra's death really brought together people, she said.

"It definitely brought the families closer," she said. "It did heighten our awareness."

This school year a parent workshop on child safety was offered, a first at the school.

Since Sandra's death, police received many calls from parents seeking ways to protect their children.

The department has always offered such training, "but it came into focus when Sandra was taken," Sheneman said, adding that police continue to work with schools and local groups.

The department has also learned much and improved the way it operates. The investigation yielded hundreds of interviews and thousands of pages of notes.

"We're better at tracking and recording the information that we develop," he said. They have taken what they learned and applied it to other investigations.

Sheneman said the department also saw the power of the media and how it could aid an investigation. The publicity drew massive attention to the case, brought masses of people to help with the searching, prompted tips and showed how much Tracy cared.

"It reaffirmed what we knew about our community — it's a tight-knit community," Sheneman said.


http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_14765620?source=rss&nclick_check=1
avatar
Justice4all
Admin

Posts : 9745
Join date : 2009-07-02
Age : 43
Location : Michigan
Mood : Sleepy

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Justice4all on Sat Mar 27, 2010 9:56 am

One year later, search for answers in Sandra Cantu's killing continues



By Scott Smith
Record Staff Writer
March 27, 2010 12:00 AM

STOCKTON - In some ways, the case remains a mystery.

What we know is that 8-year-old Sandra Cantu vanished from her Tracy mobile home park one year ago today. That's when a surveillance camera captured her last unforgettable image blissfully skipping down the street.

The woman accused of killing Sandra, 29-year-old Melissa Huckaby, sits in jail awaiting a death-penalty trial.

Yet key pieces of the story - how Sandra died, what object was used in her alleged rape and a likely motive - remain tightly held secrets among a circle of investigators and attorneys.

The judge's decision to keep details bottled up - despite her stated reasons - may prove to be wrong, say observers who are critical of how the judge has handled Huckaby's high-profile case so far.

"I think we're going down a slippery slope if we say we can't let anything come out unless we come to trial," said John Schick, a law professor at Stockton's Humphreys College Laurence Drivon School of Law.

Schick said San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Linda Lofthus' rulings to seal most pretrial motions are extremely rare. They also force the public's imagination to fill in the gaps, which could prove dangerous later.

It started when the bare-bones charges were read out against Huckaby in court. She's accused of kidnapping, rape with a foreign object and murder along with two counts of drugging two other people.

Lofthus stated in open court that she sealed records about the alleged rape of a little girl because it could inflame the public. Other times, Lofthus said she is protecting Huckaby's right to a fair trial and the privacy of Sandra's family.

She may also want to prevent the defense's inevitable motion to move Huckaby's trial to another courthouse where the jury pool has not been exposed to the intense media coverage of Huckaby's case.

San Joaquin County Deputy Public Defender Thomas Testa and San Joaquin County Deputy Public Defender Sam Behar - the two attorneys in Huckaby's case - have either urged Lofthus to seal documents or backed her decisions to do so on her own.

But Schick said it is better to let the ugly details out now. The public may be shocked, but by trial, that will have passed, he said, and the jury will be able to focus on both sides of the case.

By sealing the documents, Lofthus has heightened the intrigue, Schick said.

"When she says, 'I know what happened, and I think it's going to inflame the public,' the mind starts wandering into areas that it shouldn't go," Schick said. "It's almost worse if you let people guess as to what happened."

New Mexico attorney Joel Jacobsen, who is experienced in First Amendment and criminal law, said that in many ways, the more important part of a case is the wrangling that happens leading up to trial. The public should be brought along, he said.

"That's where the battle is being fought," he said, explaining that before a trial, attorneys argue over what evidence will be allowed or suppressed.

The public has a right to know, for example, if it turns out the police bungled the investigation, he said. In Huckaby's case, Tracy police Detective Nate Cogburn has fallen under investigation for alleged misconduct for a statement he made to Huckaby the day she was arrested.

Jacobsen said in Lofthus' defense that she likely wants to keep jurors from learning about that potential evidence, because she may suppress some of it. It would be a big problem if suppressed evidence were to influence a juror who later votes to convict Huckaby, he said.

"You would hate to find that out the day after a defendant is convicted to death," Jacobsen said. "That would be a judge's worst nightmare."

Stockton attorney David Wellenbrock isn't as forgiving. He believes sealing documents, such as transcripts of the grand jury hearing that led to Huckaby's indictment, is unusual and may be illegal.

"I think most of the sealings are unlawful," he said, explaining that Lofthus hasn't made attorneys rigorously prove in hearings why she should seal the documents.

It also runs contrary to the courthouse's past. Wellenbrock is semiretired but spent the bulk of his career as a San Joaquin County prosecutor. During his tenure, few defendants were sent to a grand jury, which meets behind closed doors.

He recalled no cases where the transcripts were then kept secret.

He said open government is a basic part of this country's foundation. The First Amendment allows citizens to keep check on the government's inner workings, he said.

"This is an example of the government hiding stuff from us," he said. "This is a republic. We're supposed to know what's going on."


http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100327/A_NEWS/3270322
avatar
Justice4all
Admin

Posts : 9745
Join date : 2009-07-02
Age : 43
Location : Michigan
Mood : Sleepy

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Justice4all on Sun Mar 28, 2010 10:47 am

Deep wounds take longer to heal
Sandra Cantu's death remains etched on the minds of parents in Tracy

By Jennie Rodriguez
Record Staff Writer
March 28, 2010 12:00 AM

TRACY - The day Sandra Cantu was reported missing, parents held their children closer.

Ten days later, when her lifeless body was found inside a suitcase in an irrigation pond 2 miles from her home, an entire community changed.

What seems normal elsewhere - sleepovers, unsupervised games in the front yard, bike rides in the neighborhood - doesn't happen as often in Tracy, say some residents. The city remains haunted by the tragedy.

Tracy resident Michelle Seals will not allow her two daughters to go on play dates without her supervision.

Another resident, Lucinda Druel, recently panicked when she saw a van parked near her 7-year-old son, and a puppy jumped out of it.

"What goes through your mind is that you hear about people using things (such as puppies) to entice kids," said Druel, 49.

Druel's friend, Michelle Macon, insists on being present wherever her 7-year-old daughter plays, even in her own yard.

"I always felt I was a little more vigilant, but now even more so," she said.

City leaders, though citing Tracy's relatively low crime rate, are left to calm fears that emerged from a number of high-profile incidents last year.

Sandra's murder is "certainly" part of that, Mayor Brent Ives said Wednesday during his State of the City address.

"As a leader, it's important for me to get us beyond it," Ives later said. But he also admits that he is more cautious with his grandchildren.

Sandra was last seen alive March 27, 2009, on surveillance video. She was skipping inside the Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park where she lived.

An intensive search followed. It ended April 6, when a dairy farm worker found a black suitcase as he drained an irrigation pond, and her body was discovered inside.

A lack of public information on the case plays into the imaginations of residents, say Druel, Macon and Seals.

And because the suspect charged with kidnapping, murder and rape, Melissa Huckaby, appeared to be an unlikely suspect - a neighbor, Sunday school teacher and mother of one of Sandra's playmates - many feel an overall mistrust for people they might have trusted a year ago.

"People you might have taken for granted, now you look at a little closer before you let your child be exposed to them," Macon said.

Seals, 35, said she notices a lot of children don't go to parties without their parents. "I know I don't let mine go in the back yard without me," she said.

She has enrolled her daughters, ages 4 and 8, in martial arts classes, she said, to better their chances of protecting themselves.

Shannon Albracht, owner of Traditional Martial Arts Academy, where Seals' daughters attend, said most self-defense academies in Tracy experienced an increase in enrollment after Sandra's disappearance, but now is beginning to taper off.

Seals bought her 8-year-old daughter a cell phone with a tracking device, too.

"It's made us more aware that there really isn't anywhere safe," she said. "You really can't trust anyone. Your kids are way too precious."

Druel and Macon discussed the incident as they watched their children play at Robert Kenner Park, the same park where a tree is planted in Sandra's memory.

"It's sad because you're teaching your child that they can't trust anyone," Macon said.

Seals, Druel and Macon also declined to give their children's names or allow them to be photographed.

It may teeter on overprotection, but Women's Center of San Joaquin County Director Joelle Gomez said the increased awareness is something the center advocates.

She said it's a normal reaction that tends to happen when communities, especially small ones, experience a crime against a child.

"You don't want to taint their childhood, but we do live in a society were we have to share this information that might seem like we're scaring our children when, in fact, we're educating our children," Gomez said.

But parents need to be careful not to scare children when they warn them about dangers, said Linda Webster, an associate professor and department chair of the educational and school psychology department at University of the Pacific.

"You reassure your child that you're the parent and that you are going to do everything in your power to keep them safe, and that's why there are important rules to follow," she said.

"You want to give them the tools; 'If someone approaches you this is what you do, and that's why I need to know what you're doing, where you are,' " she said. " 'If you're going to Suzy's, I want you to call me. I don't want you to go out at night.' "

Webster said eventually it's in the best interest of the community to try to return to a sense of normalcy. And she suggested professional help for anyone who needs it.

Even though the suspect is behind bars, the community still seems different than it was before the death of the girl christened "Tracy's Angel."

"There will always be an effect," Druel said.

"It just happened so close to home," Macon added.


http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100328/A_NEWS/3280315
avatar
Justice4all
Admin

Posts : 9745
Join date : 2009-07-02
Age : 43
Location : Michigan
Mood : Sleepy

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Piper on Mon Mar 29, 2010 9:04 am

Sandra Cantu update: Accused killer Melissa Huckaby due in court Monday

March 28, 4:35 PMCrime ExaminerCindy Adams

Melissa Huckaby, the Sunday school teacher accused of killing Tracy, Calif. girl Sandra Cantu, is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.

Huckaby, who was a neighbor of the Cantu family, allegedly kidnapped Sandra on Mar. 27, raped her, and then murdered the little girl. She is accused of then stuffing the little girl’s lifeless body inside a suitcase and placing it near a drained irrigation ditch, which was discovered Apr. 6.

Huckaby, 29, is charged with the abduction, rape, and murder of 8-year-old Sandra.

According to KCBS, Huckaby’s attorney wanted to delay the scheduled evidence hearing, claiming results of an investigation into police misconduct regarding Huckaby have not yet been received.

If convicted of Sandra’s murder, Huckaby could face the death penalty. Her murder trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 18.

http://www.examiner.com/x-1168-Crime-Examiner~y2010m3d28-Sandra-Cantu-update-Accused-killer-Melissa-Huckaby-due-in-court-on-Monday
avatar
Piper

Posts : 10277
Join date : 2009-07-12
Mood : Innocent

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Justice4all on Mon Mar 29, 2010 2:58 pm

News 10 Report - Huckaby Due in Court

avatar
Justice4all
Admin

Posts : 9745
Join date : 2009-07-02
Age : 43
Location : Michigan
Mood : Sleepy

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Justice4all on Mon Mar 29, 2010 10:22 pm

Delay in Huckaby hearing

By The Record
March 29, 2010 12:24 PM

STOCKTON — The attorney for Melissa Huckaby received a delay today for a hearing when he is expected to argue that pieces of evidence investigators collected against his client should be kept out of the death penalty trial.

Stepping into the Stockton courtroom, Huckaby’s physical appearance was noticeably different. The 29-year-old now has short, frizzy hair and has gained considerable weight since her arrest one year ago on charges she kidnapped, raped and murdered Tracy’s 8-year-old Sandra Cantu.

In her last hearing in the San Joaquin County Superior Court, Huckaby had long brown hair. Upon her April 2009 booking, the 5 foot 3 defendant weighed a slight 125 pounds, which she now far exceeds.

San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Linda Lofthus granted Behar’s request, setting Huckaby’s next hearing for May 10. That’s when attorneys and the judge will set a date for the suppression hearing.


http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100329/A_NEWS/100329854
avatar
Justice4all
Admin

Posts : 9745
Join date : 2009-07-02
Age : 43
Location : Michigan
Mood : Sleepy

Back to top Go down

Re: Sandra Cantu -- Found Deceased 4/6/09 -- Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty To Murder

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Page 1 of 3 1, 2, 3  Next

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum