By Jim Forsyth
SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - A registered nurse charged with murder for shooting a young mother outside of her doctor's office and kidnapping her three-day-old baby boy was denied bail at a hearing on Wednesday.
Verna McClain, 30, had told her fiancé she was pregnant, and took the abducted child to the fiancé, telling him it was theirs, according to police.
If convicted, McClain could face the death penalty.
McClain was arrested late on Tuesday night after officials in The Woodlands, north of Houston, Texas, tracked a blue Lexus seen leaving the site of the murder to an apartment.
Prosecutors filed murder charges against McClain early on Wednesday, and Magistrate Judge Paul D'Amico denied McClain bond at her first court appearance.
The baby was found in good condition late on Tuesday, Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon told reporters.
Montgomery County Sheriff's Lieutenant Dan Norris said when Kala Golden, 28, walked out of a pediatrician's office in the Northwoods Pediatric Center north of Houston, she was confronted by a woman in a Lexus parked next to her pickup truck.
"Some sort of a verbal altercation starts," Norris said. "The female suspect pulls a gun and shoots the mother of the baby multiple times."
Norris said officials believe McClain acted alone.
Montgomery County Sheriff's Captain Bruce Zenor said McClain has given a statement indicating she staked out the pediatrician's office because her own children had been treated there, but said she did not specifically single out Golden.
"The evidence indicates that this was a random choice," Zenor said.
Witnesses said Golden was shot five times, and hit in the chest with at least three slugs, but she yelled "my baby, my baby!" and attempted to retrieve three-day-old Keegan Schuchardt from McClain's blue Lexus as she drove away.
Zenor said McClain had told her fiancé and her sister she was pregnant with his child, but she had recently suffered a miscarriage.
"She did have a miscarriage, she needed to justify having a child to her soon-to-be fiancé and they were going to get married in May," he said.
He said that when she took the child to the fiancé, she told him that she had given birth to the baby.
"She represented this as her child, yes," Zenor said. This was despite the fact that both McClain and her fiancé are African American, while the baby is white.
Ligon said it is 'way too early' to speculate on whether he would seek the death penalty. He said McClain will be arraigned on Thursday.
Child Protective Services has returned the baby to a family member, Zenor said.
(Reporting by Jim Forsyth; Editing by Eric Beech, Mary Wisniewski and Greg McCune)
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