Denise Pesqueira


A woman who killed her newborn son in 2009 was sentenced on Monday to eight years' probation and 200 days of work-release in the Pima County jail.

Denise Pesqueira pleaded guilty to negligent homicide and child abuse in the death of the baby.

"At the time of my pregnancy, I was a very traumatized 19-year-old," Pesqueira said at the sentencing.

Defense attorney Frederick Carrillo pleaded for leniency, telling Judge Scott Rash that Pesqueira had been sexually abused in her home, which caused her to make the decision to kill the infant.

"She knew that her own son would not be safe in her own home," Carrillo said. Pesqueira lived at home with her parents where Carrillo said her father sexually and physically abused her.

He also said Pesqueira has worked hard to change her life since the crime.

"I just don't understand how further incarceration is going to hold Denise accountable," Carrillo said.

Pesqueira has twice previously faced jury trials for wrapping the newborn boy in a plastic bag and leaving him to die in the trash. Both previous trials ended in mistrials as jurors could not reach unanimous verdicts.

The baby's body was never found.

Deputy Pima County Attorney Victoria Otto argued that Pesqueira should receive prison time for killing her baby. "Ms. Pesqueira's child had no chance at life because of her actions," Otto said.

She also said the defendant showed interest only in protecting herself from punishment.

"When it came down to a choice between herself and her son, she chose herself," Otto said. "The death of this child was entirely avoidable."

Pesqueira told the judge she takes responsibility for killing the child.

"The loss of my son is something that will haunt me for the rest of my life," Pesqueira said.

Since the baby's death, Carrillo said, Pesqueira has felt remorse and matured. He told the judge his client has been in therapy, works full time and recently was promoted to a management position.

He also argued Pesqueira wants to become an advocate for girls who have faced similar situations.

"Because right now, judge, there is another girl not far from this courtroom who is carrying a secret," Carrillo said.

Contact reporter Patrick McNamara at 573-4241 or