LOVINGTON, New Mexico — A Lea County District Court on Monday deemed the evidence is sufficient to bring Alexis Avila to trial for child abuse and attempted murder.
Avila has been under house arrest since security camera footage showed her leaving her newborn baby in a Hobbs dumpster on January 7.
“We believe that her actions were intentional, that this is someone who had time to reflect and think when she got in the car and drove,” prosecutors argued to district court judge William G.W. Shoobridge. “This wasn’t someone driving to a hospital, driving to a clinic, driving to a friend’s [or] driving to someone to seek help.”
Ms. Avila told investigators she “panicked” shortly after giving birth and chose to leave the newborn in a dumpster behind Rig Outfitters in Hobbs. After enduring nearly six hours in temperatures below 40 degrees, the baby boy survived after care from strangers who found him while searching the dumpster for valuables.
The court heard evidence from the police officers and doctors who were the first to care for the boy. One doctor from Covenant Health Hospital testified the baby was blue, lethargic, and had a heart rate less than half of normal when he arrived in an ambulance.
The boy was transported to Covenant Hospital in Lubbock for more intensive care. He returned to stable condition and was released into the custody of his father.
Avila’s defense attorney argued there is insufficient evidence to warrant a felony charge, as the baby did not sustain serious bodily injury.
“The child was not, at that particular moment, healthy,” Avila’s defense attorney said. “However, there was no great bodily harm in that the child recovered. All the information that we have in court today indicates that the child is fine… in order for this to be a first-degree felony, there has to actually be great bodily harm.”
The court disagreed, and deemed the evidence sufficient to warrant a jury trial on the two charges.
“I find that it’s reasonably probable that a jury could find the defendant committed both acts,” Judge Shoobridge ruled.
Judge Shoobridge explained that while Avila can be tried on both charges, the court would vacate the lesser charge should she be convicted on both “so that there were no double jeopardy issues.”