Judge seals Cantu autopsy, toxicology results

April 24, 2009 7:22:37 PM PDT
Accused child-killer Melissa Huckaby appeared drawn, but composed in her second court appearance in a Stockton courtroom. Unlike last time, there were no tears, and she had a slight smile as she talked with her public defender Sam Behar.

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"There are certainly stages that defendants go through, appearing in the courtroom with all the media attention is very shocking and very disconcerting, but there's a point at which they become reconciled to it and it almost becomes routine, so she's beginning to calm down a little bit," ABC7 legal analyst Dean Johnson said.

Huckaby did not enter a plea. She is accused of kidnapping, raping and killing 8-year-old Sandra Cantu. Huckaby's daughter and Cantu were playmates at the Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park in Tracy.

San Joaquin County prosecutor Thomas Testa agreed to hand over the first 500 pages of reports and audio recordings to Huckaby's defense.

"We'll have further arraignment in 30 days," DA spokesperson Robert Himmelblau said. "During that period of time, we'll be able to collect the rest of the evidence and be able to disseminate it over to the defense."

Judge Linda Lofthus also ordered the autopsy and toxicology reports on Sandra Cantu's body be sealed, saying the findings could produce "public outrage." Huckaby's defense team withdrew a motion to have the Cantu's body exhumed for further testing, but they are still expected to challenge the findings of the San Joaquin County medical examiner, especially as it pertains to evidence of sexual assault.

"Anybody who's been involved in a homicide case, especially this kind of case, knows that the autopsy report is usually the most shocking, disturbing piece of evidence you're going to come across," Johnson said.

Huckaby's next court date is May 22, 2009. She may enter a plea at that time.

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