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The fire road inside Del Valle Regional Park leads to the area where police believe a mother stabbed her 7-month-old son to death in Livermore, Calif., on Saturday, April, 26, 2014. The supect later was identifed as Ashley Newton, 23, of San Jose. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)

PLEASANTON -- A San Jose mother accused of stabbing her infant son to death in Livermore last month made her second court appearance Thursday but did not enter a plea.

Shackled and dressed in a red jail jumpsuit, 23-year-old Ashley Newton sat quietly and gazed downward before her case was called during the brief morning hearing in Pleasanton. She is charged with murder with the use of a knife.

Psychiatric issues had prevented Newton from appearing in court after she was arrested for the April 26 killing of 7-month-old William Brian Sherman, who was reportedly stabbed repeatedly with a pocket knife. She was arraigned May 1 at John George Psychiatric Hospital in San Leandro.

Her public defender, Drew Steckler, told Judge Jacob Blea III that 13 stitches were removed from Newton's wrist -- a self-inflicted, deep cut she got the day her son was killed -- but a court order for her to see a hand specialist to examine a possibly damaged tendon has not been completed.

The order was reissued and she is set to return to court May 23 to make sure she has seen a specialist and to possibly enter a plea, though her attorney said she may not enter one for at least a month.

The father of the slain infant appeared in court to submit documents to be used as evidence in the case. The documents were immediately sealed. He later declined to comment.


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Newton allegedly admitted to the killing in a police interview, telling an investigator: "I'm sorry, I killed my baby."

David DeBolt covers breaking news. Contact him in Richmond at 510-262-2728. Follow him at Twitter.com/daviddebolt.