Judge recuses himself in baby-death case

MONTROSE — Thursday’s court hearing for a Montrose woman charged in the October death of ºan infant boy was continued until Jan. 24 after the judge recused himself, indicating he had prior knowledge of details in the case.

Maria Espinosa-Zavala, 31, was charged with first-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death, stemming from the death of 4-month-old Angel Nieto, according to Montrose Court records.

Judge Jerry Montgomery, who started as a district judge Tuesday, recused himself from the case during a hearing Thursday, saying he had worked as an assistant district attorney in the 7th Judicial District office during the time of Espinosa-Zavala’s arrest.

Espinosa-Zavala’s arrest affidavit remains sealed.

The Montrose Police Department has said Espinosa-Zavala was baby-sitting Angel on the night of Oct. 7, when the boy was fatally injured. Espinosa-Zavala called 911 to report a disturbance at a unit in a Montrose trailer park, where police officers found Angel unresponsive and not breathing, authorities said.

The boy was declared brain dead two days later at Children’s Hospital in Denver.

The Montrose County Coroner’s Office said Angel suffered nonaccidental trauma, but authorities haven’t specified the boy’s injuries or the cause of those injuries.

Espinosa-Zavala has been prohibited from posting bond at the Montrose County Jail because of a federal immigration hold, according to jail records.


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