Calif. woman guilty in death of daughter's playmate

In this April 14, 2009 file photo, Melissa Huckaby, 28, center, listens in a Stockton, Calif., courtroom to public defender Ellen Schwarzenberg, left, during her arraignment. A San Joaquin County Superior Court judge issued a gag order on Tuedsay, April 21, 2009, in the case against Huckaby who is accused of killing and raping 8-year-old Sandra Cantu of Tracy, Calif. Also, Huckaby's lawyers have dropped a request to exhume the body for a second autopsy. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, Pool, file)

May 10, 2010 10:49:32 AM PDT
A former California Sunday school teacher accused of killing an 8-year-old playmate of her daughter, then hiding the body in a suitcase, has pleaded guilty to murder. San Joaquin County Superior Court officials say Melissa Huckaby of Tracy entered the first-degree murder plea Monday morning.

Authorities say Huckaby killed Sandra Cantu, a playmate of her young daughter, in March 2009. A search ended when the girl's body was found in a black suitcase pulled from an irrigation pond a few miles from the mobile home park where she lived.

Assistant Court Executive Officer Sharon Morris says Huckaby faces a sentence of 25 years to life in prison without the possibility of parole when she is sentenced June 14.


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