Alexis Avila trial: Hobbs teen accused of throwing baby in dumpster takes the stand

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LOVINGTON, N.M. — Alexis Avila took the stand in her own defense as she goes on trial for attempted murder and child abuse. She had to answer for why she was caught on video throwing her newborn baby into a dumpster in the freezing cold.

Both sides rested after Avila spent more than an hour on the stand Thursday.

Avila’s attorneys started with Jan. 4 – three days before the crime – and Avila’s first visit to the emergency room with her mom for back pain she thought had to do with a car accident from months earlier.

Avila testified she went back to the doctor for continued back pain on Jan. 6, and that’s when she found out she was pregnant.

Avila mentioned the phrase “blacked out” several times throughout her testimony, saying she couldn’t remember chunks of time during those days – like the hours after she found out she was pregnant, the hours in between giving birth and leaving the police station, and her recorded interview with a detective.

The state showed the entire 27 minutes of that detective’s interview with Avila. The defense also asked her about it during her testimony.

“Prior to the police station and going to the hospital, you don’t remember anything that happened in that space?”

Avila: “No ma’am.”

“Do you understand how your actions affected the baby?

Avila: “Yes.”

“And what do you think of that?”

Avila: “Um, that hurts, that’s something he’s never gonna forget, and that’s something that’s gonna live with him for the rest of his life, as well as myself.”

The defense also called a clinic and forensic psychologist who evaluated Avila last May – almost six months after the alleged crime. The expert testified she diagnosed Avila with Bipolar I disorder, a mood disorder where someone can have extreme highs and lows.

She testified she believes Avila developed the disorder when she was a younger teen, years before the alleged crime.

“The hormonal changes of pregnancy are going to amplify and even exacerbate, making the underlying mood disorder stronger and more prominent and that cannot be controlled by the rational part of the mind,” said Susan B. Cave, clinical and forensic psychologist.

The father of Avila’s baby boy, Stephen Astorga, also took the stand Thursday. He testified he knew about Avila’s pregnancy in April – months before Avila said she knew.

Astorga spoke briefly about the baby boy, who he says is doing well other than a potential heart murmur and asthma.

Both sides will have an opportunity for closing statements Friday morning, then the case will be in the jury’s hands.