Judge to mull pitch on pre­trial re­lease in Cur­tis case

At­tor­neys for woman ac­cused of killing step­son to present pro­posed con­di­tions Dec. 17

Santa Fe New Mexican - - LOCAL & REGION - By Phae­dra Hay­wood phay­[email protected]­i­can.com

A woman fac­ing a charge of child abuse re­sult­ing in death, which could send her to prison for life if she is con­victed, will re­main in jail while her at­tor­neys try to come up with a set of pro­posed con­di­tions of re­lease that may con­vince a state dis­trict judge to free her on bond un­til trial.

Me­lynie Ty­lan Cur­tis, 20, has been in­car­cer­ated since late Septem­ber on sus­pi­cion of fa­tally stran­gling her 5-year-old step­son, Jay­den Cur­tis.

Cur­tis called 911 to re­port that the boy was un­re­spon­sive after fall­ing asleep in the bath­tub, but doc­tors who treated him be­fore his death told po­lice his con­di­tion was not con­sis­tent with Cur­tis’ story.

Jay­den was de­clared brain dead and put on life sup­port un­til his par­ents de­cided to have the de­vices re­moved.

His clothes and hair were dry, doc­tors told po­lice. He had no wa­ter in his lungs and had marks around his neck in­di­cat­ing he had been stran­gled, ac­cord­ing to po­lice re­ports.

Dis­trict Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer granted pros­e­cu­tors’ mo­tion last month ask­ing that Cur­tis be held with­out bond un­til her trial, say­ing in part that Cur­tis — who was hos­pi­tal­ized ear­lier this year after threat­en­ing to slice her own preg­nant belly with a ra­zor — was po­ten­tially a dan­ger to her­self.

Cur­tis’ at­tor­ney Todd Farkas has been try­ing to per­suade Dis­trict Judge T. Glenn

Elling­ton to re­lease Cur­tis to her grand­par­ents in Bloom­field, say­ing she’s been sta­bi­lized on med­i­ca­tion while in the Santa Fe County jail and would have bet­ter ac­cess to the men­tal health care she needs if she were re­leased rather than kept in jail.

Cur­tis has suf­fered from de­pres­sion since she was 12 years old and had her first child at 15, ac­cord­ing to state­ments made dur­ing a hear­ing Fri­day, and she suf­fered from post­par­tum de­pres­sion after each of her three chil­dren was born.

The state op­poses Farkas’ plan, in part be­cause of con­cerns that elec­tronic mon­i­tor­ing might not be pos­si­ble in the Bloom­field area.

Elling­ton said Fri­day he wants her at­tor­neys to do two things be­fore he’ll con­sider to re­lease her: con­duct a “dry run” of elec­tronic mon­i­tor­ing equip­ment to see if it will work at her grand­par­ents’ house and find Cur­tis a bed in an in­pa­tient men­tal health fa­cil­ity that can prop­erly eval­u­ate her men­tal state.

The judge said he would con­sider re­leas­ing her if he were as­sured the elec­tronic mon­i­tor­ing would be ef­fec­tive and if the in­pa­tient fa­cil­ity would clear her for dis­charge. He sched­uled an­other hear­ing Dec. 17 to eval­u­ate the de­fense at­tor­neys’ progress.

Me­lynie Ty­lan Cur­tis

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