The trial of a Redmond couple accused of starving their daughter to death is scheduled to start this week in Deschutes County Circuit Court, and it’s expected to be a long and complex one.
Estevan Adrian Garcia and Sacora Rose Horn-Garcia are the longest-serving inmates in the Deschutes County jail — and by a wide margin. Arrested in April 2017, they’re set to stand trial for aggravated murder in the starvation death of their 5-year-old adopted daughter, Maliyha Hope Garcia.
A pretrial hearing in the high-profile case is scheduled to conclude Monday. Jury selection is scheduled to begin Tuesday and could last several days. The trial is expected to last between seven and eight weeks.
A gag order preventing all parties involved from making statements about the case out of court was signed early on, meaning a lot of new information is expected to come out at trial.
More than 70 people have been named in court documents as potential witnesses.
They include 38 law enforcement officers, several half- and step-siblings of the victim and their school friends.
The parties have agreed to allow several key pieces of evidence, including:
• The medical and dental records of Garcia, Horn-Garcia, Maliyha and the other children who lived in their house.
• Transcripts of interviews with child welfare and adoption authorities.
• Garcia’s employee and timeclock records from his job at a Safeway, including his Safeway Club Card records.
On Dec. 21, 2016, Horn-Garcia called 911 to report Maliyha was sick and not breathing. Emergency responders entered the couple’s home on SW Metolius Place in Redmond and found Maliyha unconscious on the living room floor with her knees bent, her body stiff and her lips blue. Paramedics took over CPR from Horn-Garcia, who was attempting to revive the child when they arrived.
Medical staff at St. Charles Redmond was able to obtain, but not maintain, her pulse. She was pronounced dead at 12:29 p.m.
An autopsy was conducted the next day. At the time of her death, Maliyha was 3 feet, 2 inches tall and weighed 24 pounds — measurements that put her in the 0.1 percentile for children her age.
The state asserts that Maliyha’s adoptive father, Garcia — her biological uncle — and his wife essentially starved the girl to death and failed to seek medical care when she fell ill.
The defense will argue that’s not what happened. According to court documents, defense attorneys will likely assert Maliyha lived the life of a happy, normal child and interacted with many children and their parents. She came into contact with a number of adult professionals, many of whom are mandatory reporters.
“None of those adults made reports or expressed concern that Maliyha was being starved or subjected to abuse/mistreatment,” wrote Jon Weiner, attorney for Garcia, in a document filed in June.
Maliyha was born in California with methamphetamine in her system. Child welfare authorities soon located Garcia for possible foster placement, and he went through the application process and brought the girl to Oregon to live with his family.
Judge Beth Bagley will preside.
Kandy Gies will be the lead prosecutor for the state.
— Reporter: 541-383-0325, email@example.com