It seemed the case couldn't get any more shocking: A mother accused of killing her 7-week-old baby by cooking her to death in a microwave.
And then, on Thursday, PETA announced it was capitalizing on the tragedy to further its campaign against eating animals.
In a news release distributed to The Bee and other media outlets, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals announced it is trying to get a billboard erected in Sacramento that "serves to remind people that the vast majority of animals killed for human consumption are just babies who have yet to see their first birthday."
The billboard features pictures of a raw pork chop going into a microwave and one of a sow and piglet nuzzling. In between is the message, "Everybody's Somebody's Baby. Go Vegan."
"We're horrified at the thought of microwaving a helpless baby and hope that this billboard will open hearts and minds to the grief of other mothers who have their babies torn away from them simply to satisfy humans' fleeting taste sensations," PETA founder Ingrid E. Newkirk was quoted as saying in the news release.
Bee readers immediately decried the idea as "despicable," "reprehensible," and "ridiculous," though some noted that the activist organization was getting exactly what it wanted publicity.
Meanwhile, the 29-year-old mother accused in the stomach-churning case, Ka Yang, was arraigned in Sacramento Superior Court on Thursday afternoon. She was charged with murder and assault resulting in the death of a child under the age of 8.
She was also slapped with a special circumstance alleging that the murder of Mirabelle Thao-Lo on March 17 was intentional and torturous, which, if found true, could make her eligible for the death penalty.
The District Attorney's Office has declined to say whether it will pursue that end.
A petite Yang hung her head before Judge Marjorie Koller, her long black hair shielding her face. She did not enter a plea and spoke only to confirm her name and say she couldn't afford an attorney a whisper so inaudible her attorney, Linda Parisi, had to repeat it for the judge.
Parisi, who accepted the case on behalf of the Conflict Criminal Defenders' Office, said she had not had time to speak with Yang.
However, she added there are "clearly some psychological issues" involved in the case, which she described as a "tragedy."
Asked about Yang's conflicting statements to police and her suggestion that she suffers from multiple personalities, Parisi said "one's psychological stability is sometimes responsible" for such responses.
Told about PETA's proposed billboard, Parisi grimaced. "That certainly seems to me a very insensitive comparison," she said.
Yang is scheduled to return to court July 14.