SANTA CRUZ -- Barbara Garcia, accused of repeatedly hitting a 15-month-old in her care, pleaded not guilty Friday to felony charges of attempted murder and child abuse.
Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge Timothy Volkman doubled the 18-year-old Watsonville resident's bail to $200,000, and ordered her back in court June 10 for a preliminary hearing.
Prosecutor Erika Ziegenhorn told the judge the child suffered a fractured skull and bruises, and asked for the bail increase due to the "seriousness of the crime and the vulnerability of the victim."
A shackled Garcia in red jail garb stood quietly, her head bowed and turned away from the courtroom, where TV cameras taped the proceedings.
Her lawyer, public defender Nancy de la Peña, argued against the bail hike, noting that Garcia, who is pregnant, hadn't been able to make bail at $100,000, and was unlikely to do so. She also said Garcia would not have access to the child, who was taken into custody by Child Protective Services, in any case.
Garcia was arrested May 9 after a California Street neighbor recorded the abuse on a smartphone and called police, according to Watsonville police Sgt. Saul Gonzalez.
The video shows Garcia slapping the child, knocking her to the ground, where she lay motionless. Gonzalez said the attack appeared to be without provocation.
Police found the child unresponsive with bruises around her eyes. She was taken to the hospital for treatment, and has since been released.
The 15-month-old is the daughter of Garcia's boyfriend from a previous relationship. He works nights and asked her to care for the girl. Police said he was unaware of the abuse.
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