Teenage Modesto mom offered deal in baby-poisoning case

09/25/2012 9:43 AM

09/25/2012 9:21 PM

A prosecutor has offered a plea deal that would result in six years in prison for a teenage Modesto mother accused of trying to place rat poison in her month-old baby's formula bottle.

Cashel Sophia Phin, 18, has been charged with attempted murder, two counts of soliciting to commit murder and one count of willful poisoning. She remains in custody in the Stanislaus County Jail.

The infant, Anna, was healthy and safe after her mother was arrested.

The defendant appeared Tuesday morning for a pretrial hearing. She entered the courtroom in a red jail inmate jumpsuit, with shackles on her wrists and ankles and sporting a new hairstyle — a buzz cut. She used to have shoulder-length hair.

A court-appointed interpreter assisted Phin and translated what was said.

Deputy District Attorney Beth O'Hara Owen informed Superior Court Judge Linda McFadden that she has made an offer for the defendant to plead guilty to one count of soliciting murder, dismissing the rest of the charges.

The prosecutor told the judge she has discussed the plea deal with Donnell Snipes, Phin's defense attorney, but the defendant would need some time to consider the offer.

The judge canceled the scheduled Oct. 15 preliminary hearing. Instead, Phin will return Oct. 15 to court to accept the plea deal or continue with the criminal case.

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 had 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 rahumada@modbee.com or (209) 578-2394.

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