Originally posted at 2:44 p.m. May 29, 2014. Edited with new details.
A woman who allegedly stabbed her three young daughters to death at their home in an unincorporated area near Torrance on May 20 pleaded not guilty today to three murder counts.
Carol Coronado, 30, is also charged with the attempted murder of her mother, who discovered the children's bodies. The defendant's husband, Rudy Coronado, cried in court when he heard his wife's name and briefly spoke to reporters outside the courthouse, flanked by her attorney and family members, including his mother-in-law.
"I just want to thank everyone today for their support," he said.
Defense attorney Stephen Allen said his client's husband was standing by her.
"He loves and supports her and knows that this isn't her, you know, that's there's something else that caused this and we'll get to the bottom of it at some point," Allen said.
The attorney said he hopes the case will raise awareness of postpartum depression. He said his client had exhibited signs of suffering from the disorder, but her family was unsure what to look for or how to deal with it.
"We want to draw attention to the issue of postpartum depression and psychosis," he said. "I think more needs to be done to diagnose this type of disorder."
The murder charges include the special circumstance allegation of multiple murders, opening Coronado to a possible death sentence. Prosecutors have yet to decide whether to go that route.
Coronado, who remains jailed without bail, was initially hospitalized with self-inflicted stab wounds, then transferred to a jail ward at Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center.
The girls' grandmother went to the family's home in the 1000 block of West 223rd Street after reportedly becoming worried after speaking on the phone with her daughter.
Authorities said she discovered the bodies of Sophia, 2, Yazmine, 16 months, and Xenia, 2 months, shortly after 5 p.m. and ran out of the house screaming. The children's father, who was outside working on a car, then called 911.
A neighbor said Coronado was covered in blood and naked under a blanket when she was led from the home by sheriff's deputies. Investigators said several knives were discovered at the scene.
Sheriff's Detective Lt. Dave Coleman said Coronado was briefly in the Army after high school, but her military career was cut short by an injury.
--City News Service