MODESTO -- A judge on Wednesday scheduled an Oct. 15 preliminary hearing for an 18-year-old Modesto mother accused of trying to place rat poison in her month-old baby's formula bottle.
Cashel Sophia Phin has been charged with attempted murder, two counts of soliciting to commit murder and one count of willful poisoning. Her bail is set at $1.6 million and she remains in custody.
The infant, Anna, was healthy and safe after her mother was arrested, and the child was taken from the family by Child Protective Services. It's unclear if the baby has been allowed to return to the care of Phin's family.
The defendant appeared in Stanislaus County Superior Court on Wednesday morning for a pretrial hearing. She entered the courtroom wearing a dark-blue jail inmate shirt and pants, with shackles on her wrists and ankles.
A court-appointed interpreter assisted Phin and translated what was said in court.
Defense attorney wants more time
Deputy District Attorney Beth O'Hara Owen, who is prosecuting the case, asked Judge Linda McFadden to schedule the preliminary hearing. Donnell Snipes, Phin's defense attorney, argued against it, saying he needed more time to investigate the alleged crime before he could be ready.
"She's looking at life (in prison), judge," Snipes said. He said the defense should have more time to prepare before moving forward.
At the end of the preliminary hearing, the judge will determine whether there is enough evidence to proceed to trial. McFadden told Snipes they can postpone the preliminary hearing later if there is good cause.
The judge scheduled Phin to return Aug. 14 for a pretrial hearing, which should give Snipes enough time to receive a police report from a previous incident involving the defendant.
Phin was arrested May 9 after she told a fellow Modesto High School student that she wanted to kill her baby by throwing it into a trash can, according to Modesto police.
Investigators went to Phin's house, where they were told that Phin also swung her purse at the infant and tried to persuade her sister to kill the child by feeding it rat poison, police said.
Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2394.