Judge to mull pitch on pretrial release in Curtis case
Attorneys for woman accused of killing stepson to present proposed conditions Dec. 17
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