11:12 AM PST, December 12, 2012
The 21-year-old Burbank mother whose five-week-old daughter died of internal injuries last month pleaded not guilty to one felony count of child abuse Wednesday morning.
Prosecutors allege the woman -- Elizabeth Carter -- allowed the infant to “be inflicted with unjustifiable physical pain and mental suffering,” according to a Los Angeles County Superior Court criminal complaint.
But her attorney, Paul Geller, has said his client had no knowledge of any alleged physical abuse. In an interview last month, he called Carter “very loving, very caring, very soft-spoken,” and said his client “certainly attended to the baby’s health when she realized there was a problem.”
The father, 19-year-old Matthew Wojcik, was arrested in October on suspicion of felony child abuse -- the day after the infant, Violet Wojcik, was brought to the hospital with broken bones.
Burbank police at the time said the baby was “shaken very hard, which caused internal injuries.”
Violet was taken off life support Nov. 9.
Wojcik was subsequently charged with murder and felony child abuse causing death and remains in custody in lieu of $1-million bail.
Carter, who like Wojcik is a Glendale High School graduate, was arrested on Nov. 21 and released after posting $130,000 bail.
The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office has submitted a motion to consolidate the two cases, which Carter’s attorney plans to object, contending Wojcik is “obviously charged with something much more severe.”
A judge is scheduled to hear arguments for and against the motion on Jan. 16.
-- Alene Tchekmedyian, Times Community News