La Habra woman accused of throwing infant from fourth floor of parking structure pleads not guilty by reason of insanity

SANTA ANA — A La Habra woman charged with murder for allegedly throwing her infant son from the fourth floor of a hospital parking structure pleaded not guilty Wednesday by reason of insanity, authorities said.
Sonia Hermosillo, 32, entered the plea in Santa Ana Superior Court, Orange County District Attorney’s officials said. She was ordered back to court for a pre-trial conference Feb. 22.
“We anticipate that’s the defense — that they’re going to claim postpartum depression or postpartum psychosis,” said Deputy District Attorney Scott Simmons, who is prosecuting the case.
But he said the evidence indicates the killing was a pre-meditated and deliberate act.
At a hearing in March, a judge ruled that Hermosillo was mentally competent to stand trial following assertions by her attorney that she was not.
She charged with murder and child abuse in connection with the Aug. 22, 2011 incident at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County.
Seven-month-old Noe Medina Jr. died two days after plummeting from the parking structure, investigators said.
He suffered from treatable medical conditions that required him to wear a helmet.
Though Hermosillo contends she was insane when she killed her baby, “There are a number of facts which are very goal-oriented,” Simmons said.
It’s alleged that Hermosillo drove her son to the fourth floor of the parking structure and removed his helmet before throwing him off.
Before fleeing the scene, Hermosillo went inside the hospital and validated her parking, officials said
Parking validation was necessary in order for vehicles to leave the closed parking area, Simmons said, and the validation of her parking demonstrates she knew what she was doing.
Shortly before the incident took place, the baby’s father and Hermosillo’s husband called La Habra police to report them missing.
An officials motive has not been released, however the infant’s father, Noe Medina, has said that his wife suffered from postpartum depression and had difficulty accepting Noe Medina Jr. because of his medical problems.
Hermosillo has two other children.
Orange police officers arrested her when she drove by the hospital more than three hours later, as officials continued to investigate the scene, officials said.
Because she pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, the potential exists for two trials, Simmons explained.
In the first trial, a jury will determine guilt or innocence, he said. If convicted, the jury will again listen to evidence and determine whether Hermosillo was legally insane at the time of the crime.
Hermosillo could face 25 years to life in state prison if convicted as charged.

PHOTO: Sonia Hermosillo, 32, of La Habra. (courtesy)

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