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June 6, 2014

Not guilty plea given in child murder case

A Campbell woman has pleaded not guilty a second time to a charge of capital murder involving the 2011 death of a 2 year-old child.

New indictments against Arturo Daniel Vega and Gabriela Ortiz were released March 28 by the Hunt County grand jury and include several more potential causes of death for Brandon Herrera.

Ortiz, 25, was arraigned and entered a plea of not guilty on the new indictment during a hearing Thursday morning in the 354th District Court. Vega was previously arraigned on the latest indictment. Vega and Ortiz both remain in custody in the Hunt County Jail, each in lieu of $2 million bond.

No trial dates have been set.

The Hunt County District Attorney’s Office is seeking the death penalty for Vega and for Gabriela Ortiz, should they be convicted of capital murder involving Herrera’s death in July 2011.

Vega’s defense attorney has asked the judge in the case to set aside the possibility of a death penalty for a conviction on the charge, claiming evidence allegedly lost by investigators would have proven Herrera died of natural causes, rather than homicide.

The original indictments filed against the pair claimed Herrera died as the result of either blunt force trauma, choking/strangling or smothering.

The new indictments include eight potential causes of Herrera’s death; blunt force trauma, chronic blunt force trauma, choking/strangling, smothering, causing the victim to be dehydrated, causing Herrera to suffer malnutrition, suffocation and/or arrhythmia.

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