OGDEN — Attorneys for 21-year-old Victoria Ashley Mendoza said as it stands, she won't get a fair trial, and it's all because she can't afford to pay for a private investigator and expert witnesses.
"What they basically do is say, 'Well, if you get a private attorney, then you don't get those resources,' and that's just not the way it should be, and the way it is," defense attorney Michael Studebaker said.
Mendoza is accused of stabbing and killing her girlfriend, Tawnee Baird, last October after an argument. Studebaker argued a motion in court Monday, asking for the state to provide funds to further Mendoza's case. After Judge Joseph Bean denied the motion, Studebaker said he would file for an appeal with the Utah Supreme Court where he said another similar case is currently being reviewed.
Tawnee Baird's father, Casey Baird, was surprised by the motion.
"Maybe Miss Mendoza should have thought of this before she stabbed my daughter 46 times," Baird said. "I'm having a hard time with all of this. I'm having to relive this whole thing over and over."
Maybe Miss Mendoza should have thought of this before she stabbed my daughter 46 times. I'm having a hard time with all of this. I'm having to relive this whole thing over and over.
–Casey Baird, Tawnee Baird's father
Defense attorneys filed a second motion Monday, asking Bean to order prosecutors to provide discovery of evidence, and said that there may have been a delay in providing toxicology results.
"I'm always leery when you get the access of government, deciding what they will produce, not produce," Studebaker said.
Bean denied that motion, and said it wasn't necessary since prosecutors are already required by law to do so.
For Baird, it was a difficult afternoon, listening to over an hour of arguments, but he said he's determined to attend every hearing.
"My daughter Tawnee was my only child," Baird said. "I held her on a pedestal, and I'm bound and determined to see this through."
Mendoza has a preliminary hearing set for February.