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Trial set for man in infant's stabbing

January 31, 2002|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

A Huntington Park man accused of stabbing his 7-month-old cousin in the neck in Imperial in May and leaving the infant in a trash bin is set to stand trial Feb. 26.

Benjamin Jason Escobar, 20, has pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity to a charge of premeditated attempted murder.

He has remained in county jail with his bail set at $100,000 since the stabbing.

A pre-trial hearing was conducted Wednesday to determine if the prosecution and defense are ready to move forward.

Deputy District Attorney Deborah Owen said both sides are ready to begin the trial. However, there will be another pre-trial hearing Feb. 20 and a readiness hearing the day before the trial is to start.

Escobar was arrested May 14, shortly after the stabbing.

It has been said in court proceedings that Escobar admitted to investigators he stabbed his 7-month-old cousin Anthony Escalera while staying with family in Imperial. Escobar also reportedly told investigators he was told by voices to kill.


He reportedly first thought to kill an 8-year-old cousin in the Imperial house, but then chose to attack his infant cousin.

The infant was stabbed in the neck and left in a trash bin across the street. Anthony was found by authorities and survived the injuries.

El Centro attorney Thomas Storey has been retained by Escobar's family to represent him.

While Escobar has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, the DA's Office has argued Escobar knew what he was doing when he stabbed his cousin.

>> Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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