Foster father accused in baby's death had drug arrest
Wilson L. Tubbs III, 38, faces a charge of child abuse resulting in death, which carries the same weight as murder, according to the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office.
He had on Dec. 2 brought the baby girl, who had months earlier been taken from her mother, to the Mendocino Coast District Hospital not breathing and blue, and with bruises on her face and head.
Tubbs, the girl's foster father, initially claimed the infant was injured when she fell from a changing bench onto a hardwood floor in his house, and later admitted he slapped and violently shook the baby, the Fort Bragg Police Department reported previously.
Mendocino County Public Defender Linda Thompson, who is representing Tubbs, asked the court to set another court date next week to prepare for the preliminary hearing.
Thompson said that rather than having a typical preliminary hearing where the district attorney makes a case to show that the defendant should be bound over for trial for the crime, the hearing might take more than a day because she plans to make her own case in Tubbs' defense.
"I may be putting on medical evidence and (calling) other witnesses," Thompson said, and asked the court to give her adequate time to contact expert witnesses.
No autopsy report was yet available, according to Assistant District Attorney Paul Sequeira, who is prosecuting the case.
Records about the case released earlier this week by the Mendocino County Counsel's Office and Health and Human Services Agency contain a Live Scan criminal background report that, while the foster parents' names are redacted from the form, shows a clean result.
The Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force arrested Tubbs in July 2010 on suspicion of illegally possessing a controlled substance and possession for sale. He allegedly had 20 generic hydrocodone pills and eight Valium pills, according to Sequeira.
Tubbs entered a diversion agreement with the court, whereby his case would be dismissed with no criminal charges on his record as long as he completed a yearlong drug diversion program, according to Sequeira.
As part of the arrangement, Tubbs on Nov. 9, 2010, pleaded guilty to the felony charge of possessing the hydrocodone, Sequeira said, and the misdemeanor charge of Valium possession was dropped. Tubbs' sentence was deferred for a year on the condition that he completed the drug diversion program, according to Sequeira, who also noted that such a program didn't exist on the coast, so coastal residents took an online course to complete the requirements.
A year later on Nov. 9, 2011, the court found that Tubbs had complied with the terms of the agreement and successfully completed the diversion program, and the case was dismissed.
Sequeira said that while the felony would not have gone on Tubbs' record because of that, the arrest and subsequent diversion agreement would still show up if someone were to "run his rap sheet."
Tubbs is due in court for a pre-preliminary hearing date on the child abuse charge at 1:30 p.m. Thursday in Courtroom B of the Ukiah courthouse.