Obese defendant's trial can't be in court

September 30, 2008 10:25:03 AM PDT
The trial of a nearly half-ton woman facing a murder charge in the death of her 2-year-old nephew will have to be held in a building separate from the courthouse because of the defendant's weight, her lawyer said. The defense attorney's claim Monday is the latest challenge facing South Texas authorities in pursuing charges against Mayra Rosales, who suffers from a thyroid disease.

Rosales, whose weight has been estimated between 800 pounds and 1,000 pounds, was arrested and charged at home because the Hidalgo County sheriff's department did not have a large enough cell or a way to transport her to jail. After she was indicted for capital murder, a state district judge allowed her to skip arraignment and another court appearance because of the difficulty of getting her to the courthouse.

Her lawyer, Sergio Valdez, said at a hearing Monday that Rosales could die before trial because the government cut off medical care, believing she's in custody instead of under house arrest.

"Medicaid, disability, nursing -- all that was canceled by the Department of Human Services because they contend that she's under arrest," Valdez said, according to a story Tuesday on the San Antonio Express-News Web site.

Rosales faces a capital murder charge in the March death of her nephew, Eliseo Gonzalez Jr., who prosecutors say was hit twice in the head while being watched by his aunt.

The boy's mother, Jamie Rosales, is charged with injury to a child for leaving her son in the care of his bedridden aunt.

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