Dec 4, 1974 Judy Rivera
Trial delayed to aid probe SAN BERNARDINO - Trial of a couple accused of murdering their 3-year-old daughter almost 10 years ago has been postponed until Feb. .1, 1974, to allow further-trial investigation, Antonio Rivera, 38, of Col-ton, and his ex-wife, Merla Burnn, 35, of San Bernardino, had been scheduled for trial this week charged with slaying their daughter Judy early in 1965. Last month attorneys for the two defendants claimed they had uncovered evidence suggesting the child may have actually been abandoned in San Francisco and adopted. Last May a coroner's jury returned a twofold findng that the bones of a child found in February, 1973, in the Jurupa Hills south of Fontana were those of Judy Rivera, and the child died at the hands of another not by accident. Fractured ribs probably from a blow, could have caused death, experts testified. Points of evidence linking Judy and the skeleton were an unusual bone formation, malformed thigh bones, hair, and the size of the child. At a hearing yesterday, Superior Court Judge Thomas M. Haldorsen ruled on a series of defense motions and reserved ruling on several others. A motion by court appointed defense attorneys David Call and Larry Freeman for money for a polygrapn examination for the defendants was denied after the judge was told Dep. Dist. Atty. Betty Dyke had withdrawn her offer to have the tests administered. Mrs. Dyke said she had been told by the sheriff's polygraph examiner, who had consulted other examiners, that such a test would not be likely to give a meaningful result because the events in question had happened so long ago. The results of the test would not be admissable as evidence in any case, the judge noted. A defense motion to quash the verdicts of the coroner's jury was withdrawn after Mrs. Dyke said she did not intend to offer the death certificate in evidence, but would present evidence to the trial jury that the bones found in the Jurupa Hills were Judy Rivera's. Both sides indicated a desire to continue investigation into the abandoned child in San Francisco, and defense attorneys said they would file motions in San Francisco courts. Both sides agreed to share whatever information they gained in San Francisco. Motions for a court-appointed anthropologist to assist the defense, for a change of venue and others were postponed to Jan. 3, 1975.