A New Mexico Supreme Court order has brought a trial in the death of a 2-year-old Las Cruces girl to an abrupt halt.
The Las Cruces Sun-News reported opening statements were given Monday before the trial of 26-year-old Lalo Anthony Castrillo had to stop.
The issue stems from prosecutors' appeal of Judge Douglas Driggers' decision to exclude exhibits involving Faviola Rodriguez's 2018 death. According to the judge, the 3rd Judicial District Attorney’s Office had missed too many deadlines to turn over exhibits to the court and defense attorneys.
The exhibits include tangible evidence like 911 calls and photos of the girl's body. Prosecutors would have to rely mainly on witness and expert testimony.
Castrillo, who was dating Faviola's mother, is accused of abusing the girl while babysitting her. Authorities said he abused her to the point where her injuries were fatal.
Assistant District Attorney Daniel Sewell said the judge's ban on physical evidence is too severe.
Driggers has until Monday to respond to the order suspending the trial, according to the Supreme Court.