Nevada Supreme Court Panel Overturns Conviction in Baby's Death

A Nevada Supreme Court panel has overturned the conviction of a 22-year-old woman who was sentenced to life in prison for the 2004 death of her 16-day-old infant in Reno.

In a 2-1 ruling, the panel said Felicia Ramirez's rights were violated when the district court failed to properly instruct the jury before it began deliberations.

While the panel reversed Ramirez's conviction of second-degree murder by means of child abuse or neglect, justices Michael Cherry
and Nancy Saitta said the state can retry her because the prosecution presented enough during trial to convict her.

Ramirez and Joel Aponte were both initially charged with murder in the death of their daughter, Trinity.

In 2005, Aponte was sentenced to up to 12 years in prison for neglecting to protect the infant from abuse.

Ramirez appealed after she was sentenced in 2005 to life in prison with parole possible after serving 10 years.

The parents called paramedics to their Reno apartment after the infant was found not breathing.

A forensic pathologist said the baby died from massive head injuries after being hit or having her head pounded on a hard surface.
Information from: Reno Gazette-Journal,

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AP-NY-01-26-08 2000EST