Photo via Pixabay
Photo via Pixabay

A 26-year-old Anaheim woman, whose baby died after delivery in the restroom of the Stanton restaurant where she worked, pleaded guilty Tuesday to voluntary manslaughter.

Juana Perez Valencia, who has been in custody for seven years, accepted a plea deal that means she has another eight years to serve, according to defense attorney Calvin Schneider.

Valencia waived some of her conduct credits to get the deal done, Schneider said. She was technically sentenced to 11 years in prison.

Valencia was previously found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison on Nov. 9, 2012, but the 4th District Court of Appeal overturned the conviction and ordered a new trial.

The plea deal averts a third trial stemming from the Dec. 22, 2009, death of her newborn daughter. Jurors deadlocked in her first trial.

The appellate court ruling turned on whether Schneider should have been allowed to ask experts whether the forensic evidence indicated the baby’s death could have stemmed from accidental asphyxiation when her mother tried to pull her out, the attorney said.

Prosecutors said Valencia delivered her full-term daughter in the restroom of Sombrero’s restaurant, strangled the infant and then put the body and the placenta in separate bags and left them by a trash bin.

Schenider argued his client was in denial about her pregnancy and did not intend to kill the baby.

Schneider said his client would have risked a life sentence if she had been convicted in a third trial.

“She could have gotten 25 years to life and been in there for the rest of her life,” Schneider said. “The risk was too much to retry it.”

Valencia, who was in the country illegally, is expected to be deported when she finishes her prison time, Schneider said.

–City News Service

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