Judge denies request to release details of murder of Calif. girl found in suitcase

By Terry Collins, AP
Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Judge won’t release details of Calif girl’s murder

STOCKTON, Calif. — A judge has denied media requests to release details of the murder of an 8-year-old Northern California girl whose body was found in a suitcase.

San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Linda Lofthus on Monday said she wanted to preserve the integrity of the case.

Sunday school teacher Melissa Huckaby has pleaded guilty to murdering Sandra Cantu, her daughter’s playmate, last year. A gag order prevents court records from being unsealed.

Several news organizations, including The Associated Press, argued the plea eliminates the need for the gag order and that court records may help the public understand the plea agreement.

Cantu’s family opposes the media request, which Lofthus says will be revisited after Huckaby is sentenced June 14.

will not be displayed