December 05, 2009 12:00 AMSTOCKTON - Melissa Huckaby, the Tracy woman accused of kidnapping, raping and killing 8-year-old Sandra Cantu, is set to face trial late next year.
San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Linda Lofthus set a trial date of Oct. 18 after a 30-minute hearing Friday at which the 28-year-old Huckaby was present.
The judge also set Feb. 16 as the day she will consider a defense motion to suppress evidence. She did not set a date to hear a separate defense request to dismiss a grand jury's indictment.
Lofthus has sealed pretrial motions and issued a gag order in the case, so details of prosecutors' case against Huckaby still are unknown to the public.
Prosecutors had been pushing to begin the trial quickly over worries that the memories of some young witnesses will fade. But San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Thomas Testa did not object Friday to the trial date." Read more...
By TOM BRENNAN, ELAINE SILVESTRINI and RAY REYES
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Published: December 31, 2009
CLEARWATER - Even before an 11-year-old girl was accused of setting her house afire in a plot to burn her mother, the household was far from harmonious, according to court documents.
Nancy Broadhead, the girl's mother, struggled with addictions to alcohol and painkillers. She was accused of beating her daughter, Samantha, and neglecting her sons, Brent and Zachary.
As the children grew up, Broadhead was entangled in multiple custody battles and accused boyfriends of beating her.
Police cars pulling up to Broadhead's home was a familiar sight, residents of her Clearwater neighborhood said.
When Samantha was younger, the girl would visit Lynn Ehrenzeller's house down the street to play with her sons. Samantha often showed up dirty and always hungry, Ehrenzeller said.
'She had a rough childhood,' Ehrenzeller said.
The details of Broadhead's household came to light Wednesday, a day after Samantha and her 15-year-old boyfriend, Jack Ault, were arrested and charged with attempted murder and arson resulting in injury." Read more....
We hear about the small children who are missing; the ones like Trenton Duckett, whose disappearances spawn national media coverage
What about the thousands of other kids who are reported missing each year?
Like Ashley Marie Jacobs, who was 14 when she went missing from Ocoee in 2006. Or Katrice Chelsey Beckford, who was 15 years old when she was reported missing last year in Orlando.
More than 46,000 children were reported missing in Florida last year. Some are kids who ran away more than once. But many of them were returned home safely.
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