A woman accused of drowning her 4-year-old autistic son in a bathtub, then driving his lifeless body to a police substation where she allegedly admitted the crime, was ordered Wednesday to stand trial on murder and assault charges.
Patricia Corby, faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted in the March 31 death of her son, Daniel.
According to testimony at a daylong preliminary hearing, Corby allegedly contemplated suicide before holding her son down in several inches of water until he was lifeless in the family's Carmel Valley condominium.
Corby, 36, cried and kept her face covered with her hair during the entire hearing. She cried in court for at least 30 minutes while witnesses were called to talk about the boy.
"Very loving," said a sobbing Marina Ellis, who was the boy's special education teacher. "... very concerned for his progress."
Friends of Corby described her as good, caring and stay-at-home mom who was attentive to the needs of her son. They insist there must be more to the story.
District Attorney's Office Investigator Walter Escobar testified that Corby told him that her son -- diagnosed with a high likelihood for autism -- had made strides in his battle with the disease but not enough to satisfy her.
Corby, who cared for her son at home, felt she had no time to do anything, Escobar testified.
"She felt like her whole existence was dedicated to her child," Escobar testified. "She felt like she had no life. She wanted Daniel to be normal."
Escobar testified that Corby told him that after she killed her son, she tried to drown herself but couldn't.
Corby realized what she did wrong and drove to the police substation four miles away to turn herself in, Escobar said Corby told him.
A police officer tried to resuscitate the child, but paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.
The victim's father was at work at the time of his son's death, police said.
He testified that he and his wife amassed $70,000 in debt getting their son numerous types of treatment.
The victim's father testified that he saw no signs that his wife suffered from any mental disease before she allegedly killed their son. He said officers came to his workplace around 1:45 p.m. the day of the incident.
"They said my wife had killed my son," the witness testified, saying he was "stunned" for quite some time at the news.
Superior Court Judge Michael Smyth ruled that enough evidence was presented for the defendant to stand trial. Arraignment was set for Sept. 19.