SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The mother accused of killing her infant daughter in a microwave earlier this year was arraigned Thursday afternoon on charges of murder and assault causing death to a child under the age of 8.
Ka Yang, 29, also faces a special circumstance that the murder was intentional and involved torture, which, if found true, could make her eligible for the death penalty or life without parole.
Yang was arraigned in a Sacramento Superior courtroom at the county Main Jail, where she has been held since her arrest Tuesday. She did not enter a plea.
The case was accepted on behalf of the Conflict Criminal Defenders office by attorney Linda Parisi.
After the hearing, Parisi spoke briefly with reporters and indicated that Yang might have some psychological issues.
Sacramento police allege that Yang killed her 7-week-old daughter, Mirabelle Thao-Lo, by putting the baby in a microwave March 17. The infant suffered thermal burns that police attribute to the appliance.
Yang told police she suffered a seizure while holding the baby and woke up on the ground with the injured baby next to her, possibly burned by a nearby space heater. But detectives rejected that claim based on the child's injuries -- she was burned head-to-toe, but her pajamas and her hair were not burned -- and what they saw as inconsistencies in Yang's accounts.
There have only been three other known cases nationwide of children being injured in a microwave, two of them fatally.