|A Utah teenager pleaded innocent, and his sister's lawyers said they will challenge whether she should be tried as an adult for an alleged knife attack on two little girls outside a Mesquite casino.|
Beau Santino Maestas and his sister, Monique, waived their rights to a speedy trial Monday during their first appearances in Clark County District Court. The Salt Lake City teens face murder charges in the attack that killed 3-year-old Kristyanna Cowan and left her sister, Brittney Bergeron, 10, paralyzed. Prosecutors have said they might seek the death penalty.
Philip Kohn, a special public defender, declined to enter a plea for Monique Maestas, 16: 'I'm not willing to accept the jurisdiction of an adult court at this time.” District Judge Donald Mosley entered an innocent plea on her behalf.
Beau Maestas, 19, pleaded 'not guilty.' Deputy Clark County Public Defender Howard Brooks said he intends to focus on his client's state of mind in the January attack. The judge decided that Beau and Monique Maestas should be tried together on charges including murder and attempted murder.
A Mesquite justice of the peace has ruled that Monique Maestas should be tried as an adult. That makes her eligible for capital punishment.
Police said Beau Maestas told them the Jan. 22 attack occurred after the girls' mother, Tamara Bergeron, and her boyfriend, Robert Schmidt, cheated him in a drug deal. The children were stabbed while Bergeron and Schmidt were inside a casino, eating and gambling.