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Mother in court for her newborn's death

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 by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - Facing manslaughter as a first degree felony, a mother accused in the death of her newborn appears in court this afternoon to find out when she will stand trial.

It was in September 2014 when two month old Joziyah was brought into the Guam Memorial Hospital and pronounced dead.  An autopsy revealed that the newborn died of malnutrition. His mother Melenie Borja was charged in his death. She appeared before Presiding Judge Alberto Lamorena Tuesday afternoon to find out when her case will go to trial but the hearing was continued to give Assistant Attorney General Gerald Henderson, who took over the case about a week ago, more time. 

Presiding Judge: What's the status of this case Mr. Henderson, any negotiations going on or shall we set this for trial by the next hearing date?
Prosecutor: Your honor if I could have a short time to conduct negotiations. 


You may remember word of the infant's suspicious death sparked a multi-agency investigation that included not only GPD but the Office of the Attorney General and Child Protective Services.

When CPS inspected Borja's home they deemed it not conducive for children. The house emitted a foul odor, inspectors found cockroaches in the kitchen and what was described as a smoking room with various drug paraphernalia inside.  Medical examiner Dr. Aurelio Espinola said baby Joziyah was extremely underweight at 6 lbs., 4 oz. and had sores on his head and face. Joziyah had eight other siblings they were placed under the custody of CPS. As for the baby's father, its not exactly clear who that is. As we reported the man Borja said was his father told police that he had smoked ice with Borja prior to getting her pregnant and that he lived with her for a couple days, but ended the relationship on multiple occasions because she would allegedly spend hours in the bedroom with different men. Borja remains detained at the Department of Corrections on $25,000 cash bail.

During Tuesday's hearing Presiding Judge Alberto Lamorena granted to the public defender's motion for discovery. The AG's Office had no objections to providing the crime scene report as well as photographs to the public defender.

The criminal trial setting was continued until February 3rd at three o'clock in the afternoon.

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