Mother accused in baby’s death found competent to stand trial

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A woman accused of strangling her 7-month-old son, then telling authorities he fell from a third-story apartment window in Normal Heights, is mentally competent to stand trial, a jury decided Friday.

Zewoinesh Badasso, a native of Ethiopia, is charged with murder and assault in the death last Sept. 7 of her son, David.

Jurors heard from a psychologist who evaluated Badasso and the defendant herself during the three-day competency trial.

After the jury's finding of competency, Judge Joan Weber reinstated criminal proceedings and set trial for Sept. 3.

At an earlier hearing, Deputy District Attorney Nicole Rooney said two passersby found David in the west alley of the 4500 39th St. sometime after 5 p.m. Sept. 7. They called police, and the child was rushed to Rady Children's Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Before police arrived, Badasso allegedly appeared in the alley and told one of the passersby that David was her baby and he had fallen out of a third- story apartment window. The defendant then “manhandled” the baby, picking him up by one arm, the passerby testified.

During an autopsy, medical examiners noticed severe ligature marks around the tot's neck and other injuries to his face and neck, indicating some form of beating, Rooney said.

Defense attorney Amy McDonald said her client moved to the United States from Ethiopia about 12 years ago and had been in San Diego only a short time.

Badasso, 34, was staying with “friends of a friend” and had just moved into their Normal Heights apartment three days prior to David's death, McDonald said.

McDonald said at her client's arraignment that Badasso, while holding David and trying to open an unfamiliar window, lost hold of the child as he jerked in her arms, and he fell out the window.

Categories: KUSI