A bipolar-suffering mom in Santa Ana shoved her infant daughter’s head underwater in a bathtub until she died “so she wouldn’t suffer what I suffered,” a prosecutor told jurors Wednesday.

Lucero Carrera, who is charged with murder and child assault causing death, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. If she is convicted, the trial will enter a second phase for jurors to determine if she meets the legal definition for insanity, meaning that at the time of the killing she did not understand the difference between right or wrong or couldn’t differentiate between reality and fantasy.

Depending on the jury’s verdict, Carrera faces an indefinite stay at a state mental hospital or a life sentence in prison.

Carrera is accused of drowning 2-month-old Kimberly Gutierrez in a Jacuzzi-type bathtub in a trailer park at 518 S. Sullivan St. on June 29, 2012.

“This is a case of infanticide combined with a suicide attempt,” said Senior Deputy District Attorney Jim Mendelson.

Carrera took about 30 Seroquel pills before she filled up the bathtub and plunged her daughter into the water, Mendelson said.

She told police she killed her child “so she wouldn’t suffer what I suffered,” Mendelson said.

Carrera took off the baby’s clothes before drawing the bath, Mendelson said. Carrera told police that when she was removing Kimberly’s clothes she knew she would drown the infant, the prosecutor added.

Carrera, who softly sobbed as the prosecutor showed crime-scene photos to jurors of her dead daughter, had a long history of bipolar disorder, Mendelson said.

The defendant would cycle back and forth between manic and depressive every six months, Mendelson said. Whens he was in a depressive state she would stay with her mother, Estela Garay.

Carrera also had a history of suicide attempts, dating to when she came to the U.S. from Mexico when she was 13, Mendelson said.

The defendant was visiting relatives in Las Vegas in late 2010 when she met Kimberly’s father, Enrique Gutierrez, Mendelson said. The two lived together for several months until Carrera swung back to a depressive state and returned to Santa Ana to stay with her mother, Mendelson said.

The defendant stopped taking her prescription for Seroquel when Kimberly was born, Mendelson said.

On the day the baby was killed, Garay had run to the store to get water for formula, Mendelson said. When she returned home she saw her daughter sitting on her bed and found the baby in the bathtub, Mendelson said.

A “hysterical” Garay pulled the “corpse” from the water and attempted to revive Kimberly, Mendelson said. The grandmother’s screams drew the attention of a boy in the neighborhood practicing a dance routine, who called 911.

Paramedics saved the defendant’s life by realizing that she had downed the full prescription and rushing her to an area hospital, Mendelson said.

Carrera’s attorney, Kira Rubin of the Orange County Public Defender’s Office, will make her opening statement in the trial Thursday.

City News Service

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.