Merced County murder, kidnap suspects pitted against each other
MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- The female suspect is being called the mastermind behind the plan to kill a Planada mother and steal her baby. That's what prosecutors told a Merced jury as opening arguments continued in the case.
Teresa Robles and Jose Velarde are being tried together, but the two defendants are being pitted against each other.
Robles, a woman who detectives say had 2 or 3 aliases, buried her head and cried as District Attorney Larry Morse told jurors about her statements to police, about what he says were a weave of lies.
Morse said, "This wasn't her only attempt to acquire another woman's baby."
Morse says Robles was the mastermind behind the deadly scheme to kill 26-year-old Ana De Ceja and then steal her baby.
Ana Diaz De Ceja was strangled, her body burned in an orchard. Police say the two defendants were caught on surveillance cameras hours after the murder, buying diapers and supplies for a baby that wasn't theirs.
The district attorney said they even shaved the infant's head to disguise him. But the defense attorney for Robles tells a completely different story.
Jeffrey Tenenbaum says Robles lived a life of domestic violence, and that her fiancé Jose Velarde, forced her to do things for drugs. Forced her to fake a pregnancy.
Tenenbaum said the victim Ana Diaz De Ceja, had an affair with the suspect, Jose Velarde. "The woman I cheated with was Ana De Ceja and that's my son."
And while each side may tell a different story, both did say they agree jurors will hear even more strange details as the case continues to unravel.
Trial for both defendants will continue on Monday, it's expected to last about a month.
kidnapping, crimetracker, murder, court, merced county, snelling, legrand, merced, local, stephanie stone
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