Having been ordered to appear in San Joaquin Count Court at 1 pm yesterday has led to speculation the secret grand jury decided at the end of July, to indict Melissa Huckaby. If indicted, Huckaby may face the death penalty for the March murder of Sandra Cantu.
The San Joaquin grand jury did indeed find enough evidence to indict and as Judge Linda Loftus read the indictment Huckaby broke down in tears. Court observers noted that Huckaby had scratches on her face and arms.
Loftus has sealed the grand jury transcript, but has not set a trial date because Sam Behar, Hucakby’s defense attorney, requested a delay in setting the trial date because he is in the middle of another trial and has not read the indictment nor the transcript.
Deputy District Attorney Thomas Testa countered that the indictment was delivered to Behar’s office earlier this month and he had plenty of time to read it.
Testa said they are treating the case as a death penalty case, but had not yet reached a final decision. He also told Loftus because the case involved a minor it deserved to be treated as a priority and he requested a speedy trial.
Loftus replied that that setting a trial date within 30 days would be premature because of Behar’s claim he had not read the voluminous grand jury testimony and the defense needs time to prepare.
A September 10 hearing was scheduled to discuss possible trial dates.
Huckaby remains in the San Joaquin County jail where she has been held since her April 10 arrest.