Convictions reinstated in Baby Brianna’s death

The New Mexico Supreme Court today reinstated the convictions, on all but one count, of the father and uncle of Baby Brianna, the 5-month-old girl whose 2002 death shocked the Las Cruces community and led to tougher state penalties for child killers. The court today reinstated all but one conspiracy charge against each for the rape and killing of the girl, District Attorney Susana Martinez confirmed. She said her office and the attorney general had not yet read the opinion, so she didn’t have details. “All I can say is, thank God that we don’t have to do this again,” Martinez said, referring to her intent to retry the case if the convictions were not reinstated. The decision comes two months after the court reinstated the conviction of Brianna’s mother Stephanie Lopez. Continue Reading

One conviction reinstated in Baby Brianna’s death

The New Mexico Supreme Court today reinstated the conviction of the mother of Baby Brianna, the 5-month-old girl whose 2002 death shocked the Las Cruces community and led to tougher state penalties for child killers. The decision, which you can read by clicking here, was announced by the attorney general’s office. The court’s justices were unanimous in agreeing that Stephanie Lopez’s rights were violated, but split 3-2 on whether the error was harmless, with Justices Petra Maes, Pamela Minzer and Patricio Serna saying the error was harmless and reinstating the conviction. The convictions of Brianna’s mother Stephanie Lopez, father Andy Walters and Uncle Steven Lopez were overturned by the Court of Appeals in 2006. That court found that their right to confront and cross examine their accusers had been violated because they were tried together. Continue Reading