A Sonoran man charged with second degree murder and child molestation in the death of 1-year-old Koltyn Sparks-Blackwood failed to file a plea when he first appeared on Wednesday afternoon because he has not yet hired a private attorney to represent him.
Joseph Maloney, 26, appeared after 4:30 p.m. on a Zoom call before the Tuolumne County Supreme Court on a charge in which a defendant is pleading the charges against him. He wore orange jumpsuits and a blue surgical mask. He told presiding judge Kevin Seibert that he did not need a public defender appointed for him.
“I’ll hire my own,” he said. “I need a week to prepare financially.”
Maloney is charged with second degree murder, child assault, and child abuse in circumstances that could cause serious assault.
Seibert also noted an improvement in one of the charges: seriously injuring a child under five.
Maloney will have to live in state prison for up to 25 years if convicted on all counts. This announced a layoff from the Tuolumne County Prosecutor’s Office and Sonoran Police Department on Monday, the day he was arrested at his South Shepherd Street home.
Seibert identified the charges as a procedural matter, noting that Maloney should plan to speak to his attorney before making any statements.
“We’re not going to ask you to hand in a plea today because you don’t have a lawyer with whom you can discuss it,” said Seibert.
Koltyn died at UC Davis Medical Center on the afternoon of January 15, 2019, less than a month before his second birthday. After midnight, he was found unresponsive by his mother when she returned from work after being babysat by Maloney, Sparks’ boyfriend at the time, at his South Shepherd Street home the previous day.
Seibert has scheduled the next trial for February 5, the same day as a hearing for Koltyn’s mother, Nicole Sparks, 23, of Waterford, on suspicion of child abuse in circumstances that could result in serious bodily harm or death six years in prison if convicted.
Seibert said Maloney’s lawyer could decide with him whether he wanted to be present at the next hearing or appear over the call.
Seibert confirmed Maloney’s $ 1 million bail during the hearing and found it to be in line with the bail schedule for his charges. Maloney was also scheduled for a warrant return and bail hearing, but they were not mentioned as he did not have a lawyer to represent him.
The hearing was attended by members of Koltyn’s family who publicly advocated prosecution after the child’s death. You have also spoken out in favor of the “Koltyn Law,” which requires medical institutions to notify law enforcement immediately if a child is confronted with life-threatening injuries.