Vandergriff, Barbosa to be tried separately
A Superior Court judge granted a motion Thursday to sever the murder cases of two co-defendants who are charged with murdering their infant son.
Jonathan Edward Vandergriff, 23, and Staci Lynn Barbosa, 19, are charged with first-degree murder, child abuse by domestic violence, sexual assault of a minor under the age of 15 and sexual conduct with a minor under the age of 15. The couple is charged with the death of their 6-week-old son.
Superior Court Commissioner Derek Carlisle granted a defense motion to sever the cases, meaning both defendants will be tried separately.
Vandergriff’s attorney, Carlene Lacy, said she will file two more motions to get the autopsy records from the Las Vegas medical examiner and to get records from the Arizona Child Protective Services. The judge set the next hearing for Sept. 22 to argue those motions.
Deputy Mohave County Attorney Greg McPhillips also said he will decide by Monday whether to seek the death penalty against the either or both of couple. If he does not seek the death penalty, the each could face life in prison with or without the chance of parole after 35 years if convicted. Vandergriff is being held on $500,000 bond and Barbosa is being held on a $250,000 bond.
Judge Steven Conn denied a motion Tuesday filed by Barbosa’s attorney for a new judge. Carlisle was the prosecutor in a criminal case where Vandergriff was the victim in an assault. The woman who assaulted Vandergriff could be a witness in Barbosa’s upcoming trial.
Vandergriff pleaded guilty in 2006 to child abuse after he abused another girl when she was 10 months old. Vandergriff was sentenced to probation and jail time.
Barbosa was arrested June 15 after she took her badly injured son, Matthew, to the Western Arizona Regional Medical Center. Vandergriff turned himself in to police officers later that day.
Matthew suffered from bruises, broken ribs, broken femur and swollen eyes. According to medical officials, he was also malnourished and dehydrated. The infant reportedly also showed signs of sexual abuse and shaken baby syndrome.
Matthew was later taken to a Las Vegas hospital where he died the next morning.