A Kern County judge on Friday reinstated criminal charges against a woman accused of killing her newborn after a state hospital determined she is competent to stand trial.
Judge Michael G. Bush set the trial of Elvira Farias for Jan. 22. She is charged with murder and assault on a child younger than 8 resulting in death, and faces a life term in prison if convicted.
Farias, 28, was previously found incompetent following her arrest in November 2015, and spent more than six months in state hospitals. She was transferred back to Kern County in April after doctors determined she was restored to competency.
A local psychiatrist also examined her and found her competent.
There was no discussion regarding the evidence in the case during Friday's hearing.
Farias' public defender, Paul Cadman, has said his client was known in the Shafter community to be homeless and mentally ill, and didn't know she was pregnant. He said she became pregnant as a result of rape.
Prosecutor Nicholas Lackie has said Farias never told police she was raped. The only mention of rape occurred during a conversation with a mental health worker who found Farias' comments to be "highly delusional."
On June 19, 2015, police located a newborn's body wrapped in a towel and placed in bushes behind a Shafter medical office. Officers spoke with Farias, a homeless woman who they had contacted weeks earlier and knew had been pregnant.
Police testified in a hearing last year that Farias was in possession of bloody clothing and was no longer pregnant.
The baby boy died of blunt force trauma and asphyxiation, according to an autopsy. Injuries included skull fractures and a broken rib.
DNA evidence linked Farias to the baby, authorities said. Doctors estimated she was 35 to 38 weeks pregnant.
Farias pleaded no contest to a felony accessory charge in July 2014, and has entered no contest pleas to several misdemeanor drug offenses in separate incidents from 2009 to January 2015. She was on probation for the accessory charge at the time of the infant's death.
Her bail is set at $1 million.