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Attorney explains why murder charge was filed in death of El Paso County 11-year-old

Double-Mug-2 sabin ryan tara

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- One day after their first court advisement, Tara and Ryan Sabin, accused of killing 11-year-old Zachary Sabin, have been scheduled for their next court appearance.

On June 23rd, both the father and stepmother will hear if the prosecutor in this case chooses to keep the charges suggested by the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.

Both Sabins are charged with 1st Degree Murder, Child Abuse leading to death, and six misdemeanor charges of child abuse.

Zachary Sabin was found dead back in March, and the El Paso County Coroner says he died by forced water intoxication after being given nearly a gallon of water without food.

In the state of Colorado, a first-degree murder charge is applicable when the victim is under the age of 12 and the defendant is in a position of trust.

KRDO is sitting down with a criminal defense attorney, Pat Mika of Mika & Associates to explain the charges, what comes next in the court process, and what the defense might have to prove if the case goes to trial.

He says in his nearly 40 years in law he's never seen a case like this.

"It's a very unique situation," he explained, "it looks like be necessary to have experts to take a look at this and see if that is was really occurred."

Mika says it's possible counsel will argue this incident was an accident.

"It appears the parents had no evil intention to harm the child. They were acting on a belief there was a legitimate reason to provide the child with large amounts of water," Mika said.

Regardless of the circumstances, trying a child homicide in court is no easy feat.

"When an innocent child dies, then it raises the level of alarm and concern for the people who will be sitting on a jury," he explained.

Both Sabin's have a First Appearance hearing on Tuesday morning at the El Paso County Courthouse.

An extended media coverage motion filed by KRDO that would have allowed a camera inside the hearing was denied.

Colorado Springs / Crime / El Paso County Crime / Local / Local News / Video

Krystal Story

Krystal is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Krystal here.

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