Lucero Carrera, a Santa Ana mother, was found guilty of first-degree murder in the drowning of her infant daughter, Kimberly.
On June 29, 2012, Carrera’s mother, Estela, returned from a quick trip to the store to find Carrera in the room the two shared with the baby. Estella testified, through an interpreter, she had asked Carrera where the baby was. Carrera said to her she had drowned the infant girl.
Estela testified that she returned home to find the infant’s lifeless body floating face-down in the bathtub. Her hysterical screams drew the attention of neighbors, one of whom called 911.
When paramedics arrived to the home, they noticed an empty bottle of bipolar medication prescribed to Carrera. Carrera admitted to ingesting 30 pills in an attempt to commit suicide.
Carrera was diagnosed with bipolar disorder more than a decade ago. According to official, she had been hospitalized several times and attempted suicide. Soon after Kimberly’s birth, Carrera reportedly stopped taking her medication.
Carrera later told police that she had held Kimberly down and drowned her in the bathtub so the infant “wouldn’t suffer what I suffered.”
The prosecutor and Carrera’s own attorney, Deputy Public Defender Kira Rubin, both acknowledged that the woman killed her 2-month-old daughter following a long battle with mental illness. However, the attorneys did not agree on whether Carrera was guilty of first or second-degree murder. Unlike second-degree murder, first-degree murder requires, premeditation. Rubin contended that, as a result of her mental disorder, Carrera was not able to form premeditation for murder. Senior Deputy District Attorney Jim Mendelson disagreed, telling the jury that Carrera told officers she knew she was going to drown Kimberly.
After deliberation, the jury found Carrera guilty of first-degree murder of her infant.