Crime - Sacto 911

Plea possible for mom charged with burning daughter

Defense attorney Amanda Reeves, left, with her client Porche Wright as she is arraigned in Sacramento Superior Court in Sacramento on Thursday, April 30, 2015. Wright is the Sacramento woman accused of setting fire to her 7-year-old daughter.
Defense attorney Amanda Reeves, left, with her client Porche Wright as she is arraigned in Sacramento Superior Court in Sacramento on Thursday, April 30, 2015. Wright is the Sacramento woman accused of setting fire to her 7-year-old daughter. rbenton@sacbee.com

This story has been corrected.

Porche Latrice Wright, accused of setting her young daughter on fire at their duplex last April, could be close to accepting a plea in the disturbing case, her attorney said Monday in Sacramento Superior Court.

A Jan. 21 trial date looms for Wright, who is facing attempted murder and mayhem charges in the April 3, 2015, burning at her El Camino Avenue home. Prosecutors also allege special findings of Wright causing great bodily injury and permanent disfigurement and disability.

On Monday, defense attorney Amanda Reeves told Sacramento Superior Court Judge Ben Davidian that she and prosecutors “were working on resolving this case,” asking Davidian to vacate the trial date and set a hearing Jan. 27 for a possible resolution.

Officers responding to a call April 4 from Wright’s boyfriend met a visibly upset Wright at the front door, according to testimony at Wright’s August preliminary hearing. Officers said they discovered Wright’s then-7-year-old daughter covered in burns from what the girl later described as “hot oil” that prosecutors said was ignited by her mother. Wright’s daughter suffered third- and second-degree burns that covered nearly 40 percent of her body, including her neck, chest, arms and legs, the night of April 3.

Wright has a history of abuse charges, according to Sacramento Superior Court records. She completed a batterer’s treatment program after a 2014 felony domestic violence charge in Sacramento County, records show. Wright was scheduled to appear in court to show a judge she completed the program. Wright’s scheduled court date was two days after she was arrested in the April 4 case.

Investigators at Wright’s preliminary hearing in August recounted the scene at Wright’s home. One police officer testified she saw Wright’s daughter with burns “on her face and all the way down to her feet.”

The officer said she followed the heavy smell of fuel to the bathroom where she testified she found char marks on the walls next to the bathtub.

Another officer at the August hearing told of a hospital room interview with Wright’s daughter where she recounted the attack.

The officer testified that the girl told him she was in the living room the night of April 3 when her mother became angry. Wright went to her bedroom, returned with a red bottle, then poured its contents over the girl’s head before taking her to the bathroom and locking the door behind them. There, Wright set fire to her daughter with a lighter, the officer testified.

Editor’s note (Jan. 19): This story has been corrected to state that the Sacramento Police Department handled the investigation of this case.

Darrell Smith: 916-321-1040, @dvaughnsmith

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