South Dos Palos, California, July 7, 2009 - Martha Franco, 44, who is accused of beating her her 5-year-old autistic son until he was unconscious on May 22, 2007, will stand trial for the alleged crime on September 14. Ms Franco faces many charges, including attempted murder, torture, aggravate mayhem and child endangerment. The trial is expected to take eight days. As reported in the Merced Sun Star:
According to a sheriff's investigation report, Franco admitted abusing the boy, but was careful not to kill him so she wouldn't lose a $2,000-a-month government subsidy she received.
Investigators described the boy's injuries as horrific. For example, after the boy was transported to the hospital in a coma, doctors said he suffered a massive head injury that pushed the left side of his brain to the right side of his skull.
He also had several burn marks on his face and bite marks, scratches and bruises across his body, according to a sheriff's investigation report.
If convicted, Ms Franco faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. Her husband, Jose Franco, pleaded no contest in 2007 to charges of failing to intervene in the alleged abuse. He was sentenced to 90 days jail and two years of probation.
According to Merced County Deputy District Attorney Marit Erickson, the boy is recovering and doing well.