Family of San Jose father accused of killing 6-week-old says they face threats

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The family of a San Jose man accused of killing his 6-week-old daughter says they're now afraid for their lives after receiving threats. (KGO-TV)

The family of a San Jose man accused of killing his 6-week-old daughter says they're now afraid for their lives after receiving threats.

Three people walked up to ABC7 outside the courtroom Thursday, complaining of threats because of video of last week's court appearance of Matthew Zabala. They were clearly distressed, but they were unwilling to tell ABC7 who was the target of the threats.

It's not clear whether the three individuals are the target of the threats, or others.

RELATED: Murder charges filed against dad after baby dies from alleged beating

A source at the Santa Clara County sheriff's office tells ABC7 that Zabala, who is facing murder charges for the death of his daughter Mila, is in protective custody in the main jail. But our source was not aware of any threats inside the jail.

Zabala's public defender, Andy Gutierrez, confirmed off camera that there have been threats. However, he would not say if they were death threats. He said the threats are being handled by the criminal justice system and that the safety of the family and witnesses is important.

At issue is video of Zabala in court last week. However, a booking photo of Zabala has also been released by the sheriff's office.

In the meantime, a GoFundMe page set up by the sheriff's office to pay for the funeral services has raised close to $12,000. The VMC Foundation will benefit from any funds exceeding funeral expenses. The money will go toward a special incubator, called a giraffe bed, to be used at the neonatal intensive care unit at Valley Medical Center.

"There's so many things that bring us together," said VMC Foundation CEO Christopher Wilder. "Sometimes, unfortunately, it's a tragedy like this. But the outpouring of support has done so many hearts good, mine included.

Zabala was scheduled for a court hearing Thursday afternoon, but it's been continued to mid-September so he did not appear in court.

The public defender says he expects a series of continuances, which means it's taking time to review the evidence and come up with a defense strategy.

Donations for the baby's funeral can be made online here.

Here are resources if you are a parent and need help with child care:

http://www.nationalparenthelpline.org/
http://www.first5california.com/
Related Topics:
newsabusechild abusechildren injurieschild injuredsanta clara countycrimearrestthreatSan Jose
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