SAN ANGELO, TX – The woman accused of killing her baby in Feb 2019 is attempting to get her case thrown out due to racial prejudices, confirms court documents.
On Apr. 8, defense attorney Jenny Henley submitted a motion to dismiss the case to judge Brad Goodwin.
The 22 page document alleged that the case needed to be thrown out due to "prejudice and ethnic discrimination in prosecution."
Lesley Moreno is accused of playing a role in the death of her baby, Nathaniel. Nathaniel died due to blunt force trauma. Moreno's husband Andrew Fernandez is also charged with capital murder. Both of them are facing the death penalty.
The defense is claiming that it is prejudice for the two to face the death penalty citing a separate case on the docket. In Jan. Destiney Harbour, Dustin Smock, and Cristin Bradley were indicted for injury to a child.
In the Harbour case they are accused of playing a role in the death of the baby. In that situation Horbour had a child at home, the family never gave it proper medical care, and at some point someone gave the baby Heroin.
The defense pointed out that District Attorney Allison Palmer was the prosecutor in both of the cases. In this case the Hispanic couple faces the death penalty while the White family is only facing felony injury to a child, not murder.
The document continued by pointing out that Moreno shouldn't be charged with murder at all. On Feb. 25, 2020 during a bond reduction hearing a detective with the San Angelo Police Department was the main witness that was called to the stand. The detective gave a eight points on why Moreno's bond should not be reduced. The following are those points:
- The deceased had multiple injuries over and extended period of time.
- The deceased had unexplained health issues over an extended period of time.
- "...no way, as a mother, she did not realize something was going on"
- The detective believed that Moreno must have seen some bruising because Moreno had not followed up with doctor's appointments.
- The alleged victim is deceased.
- Moreno was an "unemployed mother"
- Moreno "stayed home"
- "That's all I have"
During that hearing the bond reduction was denied.
The defense attorney claims that several of the points have no bearing on how Nathaniel was injured. She rebutted with point five which she claimed had no information regarding the cause of death, point six because of the mother being unemployed is a "nonsensical condemnation of motherhood, coupled with a condemnation of the economically disadvantaged," and point seven because the term "stayed home" might just as easily be considered a positive rather than a negative.
The attorney then went on to accuse the detective of building the case on the idea that Moreno had not personally inflicted the blunt trauma of the baby.
With the motion the defense is attempting to get the charges dismissed. This is the 68th pretrial motion since the case got on the docket in Feb. 2019. This is the second oldest murder case on the 391st District court docket.
The court will meet again on June 1 to rule on the motion.