Jury selection is slated to begin Tuesday for the murder trial of an Orcutt man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend's 19-month-old daughter in 2016.
Sean Michael Kothe, 27, will stand trial starting next week for the murder of toddler Delilah Cossio Molina, who died on June 28, 2016 at a Madera hospital from violent head trauma and brain injury, after suffering from subdural hematoma two days after her mother Jackeline Molina, took her to Marian Regional Medical Center.
On Wednesday, Kothe appeared briefly with his attorney to confirm trial. Pretrial motions will be heard Monday, and the jury panel will be brought in Tuesday for hardships.
Last fall, a judge urged both sides to reach a resolution in the case, and ordered the defense to turn over evidence to the prosecution that might lay some blame on the child's mother, who was never charged in the case.
In September 2018, Kothe's counsel Steven Andrade argued that prior to her death, Delilah suffered head trauma on multiple occasions under her mother's care, that included hitting her head in the tub, on a wooden futon and on the floor. Had Delilah been taken to the hospital immediately when her mother found bruising on her head, a week before her death, the child would have still been alive, Andrade wrote in his readiness and settlement statement.
The statement, filed in September, showed that the child's mother knew of Delilah's head injury a week before she was hospitalized, because she was researching skull fractures and severe bruising behind her ear on the internet June 19 and 22. That could have been the time Delilah developed subdural hematoma, according to defense expert opinions.
Those symptoms could take days, weeks or even longer to develop, Andrade noted in his statement.
The prosecution however, contended there was no way Delilah could have lived an entire week given the severity of her skull fracture, countering the defense's theory that her injuries stemmed from trauma she incurred under her mother's care several days before her death.
In addition to the murder and child abuse charges, Kothe faces charges of witness intimidation and heroin possession stemming from his time in County Jail. He is scheduled to face a second trial later this year on the witness intimidation charge.