Woman on trial for killing her baby in a microwave
Published 24/06/2011 | 11:45
A CALIFORNIAN woman accused of killing her baby in a microwave told police she blacked out, but later acknowledged she lied and said she might have a split personality.
Ka Yang (29), who was arrested on Tuesday, appeared in court yesterday on charges of murder and assault causing death to a child under the age of eight.
She also faces a charge that the murder was intentional and involved torture, which, if found true, could make her eligible for the death penalty or life without parole.
Yang acknowledged that she understood the charges against her. She did not enter a plea.
Police found Yang's six-week-old daughter, Mirabelle Thao-Lo, dead in her home in Sacramento on 17 March. They say the child suffered "extensive thermal injuries".
The girl was burned from head to toe, but authorities could not find an obvious source for the burns when they arrived at the home.
The infant's pyjamas and hair were not singed. A soother, however, was found in the microwave.
Yang allegedly told investigators she blacked out while working on the computer with Thao-Lo in her arms. She said she woke up on the ground with the injured baby next to her, possibly burned by a nearby space heater.
However, detectives rejected that claim based on the child's injuries and what they saw as inconsistencies in Yang's accounts.
Although she had a history of seizures, paramedics did not find her disorientated when they arrived.
When detectives pointed out inconsistencies in her story, Yang allegedly acknowledged she lied and said she might have a split personality.
Detectives have not established a possible motive. "Nothing [Yang] gave us explained what led up to the baby being killed," a police spokesman said.
The baby's father was in court, but refused to speak to reporters. Her other three children, all aged under seven, are now living with relatives.
Neighbours of Yang expressed surprise at the charges. "There's more to this than anyone knows. I personally know her and have been at the household before hanging out with her brother-in-law.
"I don't know exactly what happened, but I do know from what I've seen that if anything should be assumed of her then it's that she isn't hard on her kids at all. I've never once seen her kids disciplined in any way whatsoever...
"She let her kids be kids, never raised her voice, or anything that would lead to this tragedy. If anything, she was too lenient on her kids."