Attorneys representing the Fountain woman accused of allowing her 4-year-old daughter to ingest fentanyl and die are discussing a potential plea deal, but must come to a resolution within five weeks, according to an El Paso County judge.
Emma Staton, 25, was expected to enter a plea Wednesday, but both the prosecution and defense requested a 30-day continuance to allow for more time to negotiate a plea deal.
Staton faces three charges — the most serious of which is child abuse knowingly or recklessly causing death — in the death of her daughter Acelynn Staton-Contreras, who fatally overdosed on fentanyl in July.
Prosecuting attorney Rachael Powell told Judge Chad Miller that the prosecution and defense had only been able to meet for the first time last week to discuss a plea deal, and that prosecutors haven't had adequate time to have a conversation with the victim's family regarding a plea deal.
Staton's defense attorney David Lipka did not object to the request for a continuance, saying it was essentially a joint request from both parties.
Miller moved Staton's next court date to April 12, and said if a plea deal isn't reached by then, Staton will be required to plead not guilty, and a trial date will be set.
Staton's case was bound over for trial by Miller at a preliminary hearing in October after the prosecution presented testimony showing that there was sufficient evidence to continue pursuing charges against Staton.
At that hearing Miller lowered Staton's bond from $500,000 to $150,000 despite significant objections from some attending the hearing.
"This is (expletive)," one woman could be heard yelling before she was removed from the virtual courtroom.
"She deserves to remain behind bars," another woman said.
Staton is out of custody after posting bond in November, according to court records.
The trial for Joenny Manuel Astacio Ottenwalder, 36, and Kira Lee Davison, 29 — the Colorado Springs couple accused of allowing their 15-month-old child, Cairo Astacio, to die of fentanyl ingestion in 2021 — began Monday after the first trial was declared a mistrial last month.
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