LOS ANGELES (AP)
A judge on Thursday tentatively reinstated a murder charge against a University of Southern California student from Montana whose newborn son was found dead in a trash bin. A final decision was expected to be announced at an Aug. 20 hearing in Los Angeles County Superior Court. Holly Ashcraft, 22, of Billings, Mont., was arrested in October 2005 after the body of a newborn was found by a homeless man sifting through trash behind a popular restaurant-bar near USC. An autopsy concluded that the baby had been born alive although Ashcraft's attorney, Mark Geragos, contended it was stillborn. In March, a judge dismissed a murder charge, saying the evidence supported only lesser charges of involuntary manslaughter and child abuse leading to death. Instead, prosecutors had the entire case dismissed and refiled the murder charge. Ashcraft, an architecture student, was suspended from USC pending the outcome of the case. She is free on $200,000 bail. It was the second time Ashcraft was linked to the death of a baby. In April 2004, she showed up at a Los Angeles hospital bleeding after having apparently given birth. She claimed she had given birth to a stillborn, but the baby's body was never found and she was never arrested or charged in that case.