Related story: Rancho Cucamonga mother allegedly tries to kill daughter on freeway
RANCHO CUCAMONGA - Criminal proceedings were suspended Thursday for a mother accused of trying to kill her 8-year-old daughter so the court could evaluate her mental competency.
Stephanie Aguilar, 31, of Rancho Cucamonga was wearing a mustard-colored jail jumpsuit - which represents unusual behavior - inside the West Valley Superior Court where she was scheduled for a pre-preliminary hearing.
Her attorney, Deputy Public Defender Gary Wynings, expressed doubt at Thursday's hearing concerning Aguilar's ability to stand trial and asked the judge for two psychologists' reports.
Deputy District Attorney Karen Schmauss requested that one of those reports be done by a psychiatrist.
Judge Cara D. Hutson ruled that the reports be completed by Dec. 6, which is the next scheduled hearing.
The evaluation is only intended to determine Aguilar's current state of mind and whether she can assist her attorney in her defense, Schmauss said.
Aguilar's mindset during the incident on Halloween will not be evaluated at this time, she added.
If Aguilar is found incompetent to stand trial, she will be sent to Patton State Hospital for treatment until she is deemed competent.
However, if the reports show Aguilar is mentally competent the court will reinstate the criminal proceedings.
Aguilar was arrested Nov. 1, the day after she allegedly tried to kill her daughter by slamming their vehicle into the back of a tractor-trailer on the westbound 10 Freeway near Mills Avenue, Montclair police officers said.
Witnesses reported seeing Aguilar punch the girl and slam her head into the vehicle's center console following the collision, authorities said.
When the California Highway Patrol arrived on scene Aguilar allegedly attacked the officer, police said.
Aguilar has been charged with seven felonies: attempted murder, willful cruelty to a child, inflicting injury upon a child, two counts of assault with deadly weapon, assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury, and resisting an executive officer, according to court records.
She is facing a life sentence.
The incident has shocked Aguilar's family, who were at court Thursday for the hearing.
"She is a very good mom," Aguilar's stepmother Christine Alba said about the mother of three.
Alba said she has never seen Aguilar hurt her children.
"Not even a spanking," she said.
Aguilar's father Abraham Alba said his daughter has never been in trouble with the law and that there is no history of mental illness in their family.
"This doesn't make sense to us," he said about the accusations.
"We're all asking questions, and we don't have any answers," Aguilar's brother Raymond Covarrubias said. "She just snapped, and this is where she is."