Woman Freed After Judge Drops Murder Charge

Thursday, Dec 2, 2010  |  Updated 10:30 AM PDT
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Woman Freed After Judge Drops Murder Charge

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A judge has thrown out a murder charge against a San Bernardino County woman accused of killing her tenant 16 years ago.

The San Bernardino Sun says 53-year-old Seferina Marquez Ponce was released from jail after a judge in San Diego County granted a defense motion to dismiss the case on Nov. 19. Prosecutors say they'll appeal.

Ponce was charged with killing 18-year-old Sarah Reyes, who rented a backyard shack on Ponce's Redlands property but vanished in 1994, leaving an 11-month-old son.

Her skeleton was found in a shallow grave in a San Diego County avocado grove in 2000.

Ponce's attorney, Saba Sheibani, argued that Ponce couldn't get a fair trial because authorities lost or destroyed important pieces of evidence, including clothing found on the body.

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