Charu Lata Khanna, 32, of Irvine is charged with felony animal cruelty for the 2014 death of her dog, Harlem.
A California Highway Patrol officer spotted the canine on May 5, 2014 -- a day that hit a high of 100 degrees -- inside a parked and locked vehicle at Vista Del Norte and Dillon Road and notified sheriff's deputies, according to sheriff's Sgt. Robert Bishop.
Investigators concluded after interviewing people who worked in the area that the vehicle was parked in the same spot for more than a day with the windows closed, Bishop said.
Khanna was arrested the following day and charges were filed against her about two months later.
As jury selection was beginning in Khanna's trial last January at the Larson Justice Center, her attorney filed a motion suggesting she might be mentally incompetent to face the charges. Criminal proceedings were suspended Jan. 6, so that a psychiatrist's report -- the contents have been sealed -- could be prepared to determine Khanna's competence.
Khanna was released on her own recognizance, but then skipped scheduled court appearances in February, June and most recently, on Sept. 29. A bench warrant was issued for her arrest and she was taken into custody sometime this month.
Khanna is being held at the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning in lieu of $100,000 bail. A bail review hearing is set for Friday at the Larson Justice Center.
Khanna pleaded guilty on two separate occasions in 2013 to felony possession of methamphetamine, making her ineligible for probation should she be found guilty in this case, according to the criminal complaint.
(OC Register - Dec 29, 2016)