A Menifee couple accused in the death of their 5-week-old daughter must stand trial on felony charges, along with a family friend, who allegedly tried to help cover up the crime, a judge ruled Friday.
Gregory Miles Brandt, 33, and Jasmine Jenae Rugga, 27, were arrested in March following a nearly two-month Riverside County sheriff’s investigation into the death of the child, identified in court documents only as Jane Doe.
At end of a preliminary hearing at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, Superior Court Judge Kelly Hansen found there was sufficient evidence to warrant a trial for Brandt on charges of murder and assault on a child resulting in death, while Rugga was ordered to stand trial on child endangerment. Their associate, Matthew Wade Ryan, was held to answer for being an alleged accessory after the fact.
Hansen scheduled a post-preliminary hearing arraignment for Aug. 13.
Brandt is being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Indio Jail. Rugga and Wade are both free on bonds.
According to sheriff’s Sgt. Wally Clear, on Jan. 26, Brandt and Rugga brought their daughter into the emergency room of a Temecula-area hospital because the child had stopped breathing.
Despite efforts by a trauma team, the baby could not be revived and was pronounced dead a short time later, Clear said.
He said that hospital staff immediately became suspicious that the infant had suffered injuries consistent with abuse, and deputies were notified.
Detectives questioned the defendants and went to their home in the 28000 block of Avenida Marbella, where evidence was gathered, ultimately culminating in charges being filed against the pair and later Ryan, whose exact role was not specified.
According to court records, Brandt has a prior conviction for driving under the influence. Neither Rugga or Ryan have documented prior convictions in Riverside County.
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