"The People are seeking the death penalty in this case," announced Deputy District Attorney Thomas Testa in San Joaquin County Superior Court yesterday. The decision to seek the death penalty was made by District Attorney James Willett following discussions with Sandra Cantu’s family and the San Joaquin homicide unit.
The statement preceded Huckaby pleading not guilty to the five-count indictment handed down by the criminal grand jury.
The court frustrated DDA Testa because no date was set for the trial. Testa pressed for the trial to begin in January however, defense attorney Sam Behar said he wasn’t ready, but expected he could be in 18 months – a timeframe he called reasonable.
Judge Linda Lofthus said 1 1/2 years was excessive and she felt January was too early indicating she was leaning toward a March trial and ordered Huckaby to return to court on September 25 when a trial date may be scheduled.
Huckaby was arrested in April for the kidnapping, rape, and murder of Sandra Cantu.
Huckaby is also charged with attempting to poison two people; an adult male and a 7-year-old girl. The complaint alleges she "did willfully and unlawfully mingle a harmful substance with food or drink" with the intent to harm.
I can only imagine the frustration Sandra’s family must feel.