Asuncion Avila-Villa, 26, faces possible execution
if convicted - but her lawyers are challenging the constitutionality of Ohio's death-penalty laws, and they're also asking a judge to keep reporters out of pre-trial hearings in the case, records show.
But after investigators informed her they had found her baby in trash they were sorting behind the police station, Avila-Villa at first sat silently, then cried and told police that she had shaken the infant's head as he sat in his bouncy seat, to try to stop him from crying
, according to a police summary of her statements to them.
"She probably shook his head harder than she meant to shake him
," says the summary filed Dec. 17 in Butler County Common Pleas Court. However, police said Avila-Villa denied causing any of the bruises or broken bones that investigators found on the child's body
The child, Israel Santos, was malnourished. He weighed 9 pounds at death, only 1 ounce more than his birth weight
, according to Coroner Dr. Richard Burkhardt's report filed in court. The child died from "extensive skull fracture with underlying brain injury," the report says.
Israel was wearing a only a diaper, and several pink flowers were inside the plastic bag with his body, the report says.
Prosecutors allege the baby was buried along with items "consistent with a 'gang-style' burial intended to prevent the corpse from being found by police.
" Documents do not specify what those items were, except for the pink flowers.
Authorities accuse Avila-Villa of killing the infant three days before she was scheduled for an appointment with Butler County Job & Family Services, where "she would have been required to identify the baby's father" by providing his name and submitting to genetic testing, or risk losing benefit payments, court records say.
Avila-Villa is charged with aggravated murder, gross abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, the 15-year-old boy who fathered the child after alleged sexual relations in late 2008.