After three trials, a California woman escaped prison time when a judge and jury deemed her insane on Wednesday, despite being convicted twice for drowning and killing her baby.
The Orange County Register reports that Lucero Carrera, 33, was living in a Santa Ana home with her mother when she killed her 2-month-old daughter, Kimberly, in 2012. According to court documents, Carrera, who has a history of mental illness, stopped taking her medication after her daughter was born, claiming that it made her drowsy and she needed to be alert to take care of the baby.
During previous testimony, the defense revealed that Carrera had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and had attempted suicide on numerous occasions. At age seven, she was living in the U.S., but sent back to her home country in Mexico because she was “unstable,” according to NBC San Diego. She later returned the to U.S. but continued to have “schizo-affective disorder.”
On the day of the incident, Carrera apparently ingested a full bottle of Seroquel pills, then took the baby’s clothes off, carried her into the bathroom and shut the door. Carrera then filled the bathtub with water, placed Kimberly in bathtub, and held the baby’s head down until she stopped breathing.
Carerra’s mother, who was at the store when the incident occurred, returned home and found Kimberly unconscious, floating face-down in the bathtub water.
During the latest trial, Deputy Public Defender Jennifer Nicolalde said Carrera was going through a mental breakdown and suffering delusions when she killed her daughter. The attorney claimed Carrera felt Kimberly would also suffer delusions unless she ended her life.
“I’m not asking you to ignore or forgive what she did,” Nicolalde said to the jurors. “In her delusional mind she was saving this child and protecting this child from suffering.”
According to KTLA5, a jury found Carrera guilty in 2015. She was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison but the verdict was later overturned on appeal. In July 2018, a jury once again found her guilty but deadlocked on the sanity phase, resulting in a mistrial.
The third jury, during Carrera’s most recent trial, was instructed to concentrate primarily on the sanity phase.
Carrera is expected back in court on December 19, to learn her treatment requirements. Mental health professionals are currently trying to determine if she should be sent to a state hospital.
Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Lucero Carrerra/Police Handout]