Trial date in missing baby case expected to be set Tuesday - East Valley Tribune: Public Safety

Trial date in missing baby case expected to be set Tuesday

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Posted: Wednesday, October 27, 2010 4:45 pm | Updated: 1:20 pm, Thu May 17, 2012.

A trial date for the Tempe mother of a missing baby is expected to be set by a Maricopa County Superior Court judge on Tuesday. He also will decide whether to dismiss the high-profile case.

During a hearing held in Judge Paul McMurdie’s courtroom on Wednesday, McMurdie set the hearing to determine when the trial of Elizabeth Johnson and Tammi Peters Smith will begin, stemming from a case of Johnson’s missing son, Gabriel, who was last seen Dec. 26 at a motel in San Antonio when she took him there in the midst of a custody battle.

Johnson has both said she killed Gabriel and gave him away to a couple at the motel, according to a court document.

Johnson, 24, who remains incarcerated in Maricopa County’s Estrella jail on a $1.1 million cash bond, is charged with kidnapping, child abuse, custodial interference and conspiracy to commit custodial interference.

Smith, 38, who was interested in adopting Gabriel, is charged with forgery, custodial interference and conspiracy to commit custodial interference.

The trial could begin in May or possibly earlier.

Johnson’s attorneys, Nicholas Alcock and Adam Feldman, also will argue in court to have the case dismissed, contending that Johnson’s Sixth Amendment rights were violated when she was interviewed in a Maricopa County jail by a San Antonio police detective without her attorneys present.

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