Six years after pleading guilty in the torture death of a teenage girl, Satrina Roberts is asking for a new trial, claiming her attorney gave her bad advice and that her plea was involuntary.
Roberts was sentenced to two consecutive 20-year prison terms in 2004 for murder and child abuse. A hearing on her petition for "post-conviction relief" was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, but it has since been postponed.
Court papers say Roberts didn't understand the elements of her offenses, both because she had a clean criminal record and therefore "lacked familiarity with the terminology used in the courts" and because she "had a long history of mental health issues," along with an IQ of 56.
Roberts was awarded legal guardianship of Ciara Jobes, who lived with her since 1998 because her own mother was dying of AIDS. The girl's body was found in 2002 on Roberts' kitchen floor, covered in hundreds of scars and emaciated, weighing just 73 pounds.
A state psychiatrist found Roberts competent to stand trial, but also concluded that she was a heavy drinker who was bipolar and schizophrenic.
Her case led to sweeping reforms within the state's legal guardianship program, including new requirements that the Department of Human Resources prepare a parental fitness report for prospective guardians and that judges be allowed to check on the children after their placed.
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