New delay for trial of women in missing baby case - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

New delay for trial of women in missing baby case

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Posted: Tuesday, July 26, 2011 2:28 pm | Updated: 1:20 pm, Thu May 17, 2012.

The trial of a high-profile case involving two women connected to missing baby Gabriel Johnson will be delayed for at least another six weeks.

The trial, which was scheduled to begin Aug. 8, likely will not begin until October, according to information from Maricopa County Superior Court. The Maricopa County prosecutor assigned to the matter is working on an older ongoing case that takes precedence.

But the case is going to trial, according to Anne Phillips, the attorney for a Scottsdale woman who once was interested in adopting Baby Gabriel and is charged with forgery, custodial interference and conspiracy to commit custodial interference.

That woman, 39-year-old Tammi Smith, is being tried at the same time as the baby’s mother Elizabeth Johnson. Smith appeared in Maricopa County Superior Court on Tuesday for a settlement conference but decided not to plead guilty to avoid a trial.

Johnson, who turned 25 on Sunday, has been incarcerated in Maricopa County’s Estrella jail on a $1 million cash bond since January 2010 on charges of kidnapping, child abuse, custodial interference and conspiracy to commit custodial interference.

Results from Johnson’s second psychological evaluation during the course of the court proceedings are pending and will determine whether she is competent to stand trial or be committed to a state mental hospital.

In mid-December 2009, the Tempe woman took Gabriel to San Antonio in the midst of a custody battle with her estranged boyfriend and Gabriel’s father, Logan McQueary of Gilbert.

Johnson has both said she has killed Gabriel and gave him away to a couple she did not know.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-6533 or msakal@evtrib.com

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