Crime - Sacto 911

Woodland mom awaits November hearing in infant’s death

Tracie Olsen, Yolo County public defender stands with Samantha Green the mother of three-week-old Justice Rees as she is arraigned on the child's death on Wednesday, March 4, 2015 in Woodland. Green plead not guilty to felony charges of involuntary manslaughter and abusing or endangering the health of a child.
Tracie Olsen, Yolo County public defender stands with Samantha Green the mother of three-week-old Justice Rees as she is arraigned on the child's death on Wednesday, March 4, 2015 in Woodland. Green plead not guilty to felony charges of involuntary manslaughter and abusing or endangering the health of a child. hamezcua@sacbee.com

Samantha Lee Green will return to a Woodland courtroom Nov. 2 for a preliminary hearing in the death of her infant son.

Yolo County prosecutors in March charged the Woodland woman on suspicion of murder, accusing her of killing son Justice Rees. Justice’s body was found in remote Rough Cut Slough near Knights Landing on Feb. 25, 20 days after his birth.

Yolo Superior Court Judge David Rosenberg on Thursday scheduled five afternoons of hearings starting Nov. 2 to determine whether prosecutors have enough evidence to proceed to a murder trial.

Green, 23, was present at the brief hearing. She remains held without bail in Yolo County custody.

Green and Justice went missing days before the baby’s death. It was Green’s frantic call to 911 from a Knights Landing backyard Feb. 24 that ultimately led searchers to Baby Justice.

Preliminary autopsy results suggested the infant drowned or died of hypothermia.

Justice’s paternal grandmother said in the days after his death that the baby was born with methamphetamine in his system. But defense attorneys at a July hearing said a diagnosed congenital heart condition may have contributed to the newborn’s death.

Green had told a Sacramento television station in March that she believed she and Justice were being chased and that her “main goal was to keep him safe.” She added at the time that she believed “I was drugged or given bad drugs the night this happened.”

Yolo County Public Defender Tracie Olson at the July hearing said Green cuddled Justice to her chest and covered him in a coat to shield him from the February cold, but fell asleep. Olson said Green awoke to find the child had died.

Darrell Smith: 916-321-1040, @dvaughnsmith

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