CHICAGO — Two people accused of murdering a pregnant woman and stealing her baby were back in court Thursday, and their attorneys have asked for a gag order in the case.
Clarisa Figueroa, her daughter Desiree Figueroa were accused of strangling Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, 19, April and cutting her unborn child from her womb.
The child, known as Baby Yovanni, was placed on life support, but died 53 days later. Last week, prosecutors charged Clarisa and Desiree Figueroa with murder in the baby's death. Clarisa Figueroa's boyfriend, Piotr Bobak, was charged with concealment of a homicide and obstruction of justice.
The public defender's office has asked for a gag order. They argued that while unusual and extreme to curb the family's first amendment right to speak out about the case, they said it was necessary.
"Hearing today a judge would even consider to place a gag order on our free speech is so un-American, so un-Constitutional," Julie Contreras, an activist from League of United Latin American Citizens, said.
The motion, filed last month, called out Chicago police. The public defender wrote, “The emotional reaction of the Chicago Police Department as a whole evince a bias against the defendants.”
A Chicago Police Department spokesman was quoted as calling the case “barbaric.” CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson speculated to People Magazine that the suspects wanted to raise the baby as their own.
“I don’t think we’re hindering the case. we’re defending the deceased. And they need a voice. And that voice will be us," Contreras said,
However, attorneys for the Figueroas said the voice is likely to jeopardize the defendant’s rights to a fair trial.
Bobak’s attorney does not think there needs to be a gag order in he case. He told the media Thursday that it is clear his client is innocent.
All three are being held without bail.
The family of Ochoa-Lopez has hired Clifford Law Offices. They are looking into suing Advocate Christ Medical Center for how it handled this entire ordeal.
A judge will decide on whether to enter a gag order in September.