Prosecutors on Thursday asked for more time to consider charges against a Santa Rosa mother accused of grabbing the throat of a 12-year-old boy during a campus confrontation about bullying.
Investigators are still interviewing witnesses to the May 16 incident at Olivet Charter Elementary School that led to the arrest of Delia Garcia-Bratcher, 30, Chief Deputy District Attorney Bill Brockley said.
He said the investigation was complicated by the start of summer vacation. Witnesses included students ages 10 to 13 and multiple adults, he said.
"It's taking some time," Brockley said. "We keep getting new names."
Judge Dana Simonds ordered both sides to return to court July 17. It was the second continuance sought by prosecutors.
The case has attracted international media attention and drew TV crews from across the Bay Area to the courthouse Thursday. Outside court, Garcia-Bratcher expressed her frustration over the delay and maintained her innocence. Her attorney, Ben Adams, accused prosecutors of stalling because, he said, they have no evidence against his client.
"I'm just overwhelmed," Garcia-Bratcher told reporters. "I'm praying and hoping this all goes away."
The mother of six was arrested after allegedly attacking the boy during a visit to the campus to enroll one of her children. A Sonoma County sheriff's spokesman said she confronted the boy on the playground, grabbed his throat and pushed him.
The boy ran to school officials, who took pictures of red finger marks on his neck.
Garcia-Bratcher admitted confronting the boy, who she believed was calling her 10-year-old daughter names. But she said she never laid a hand on him.
Her attorney, who conducted his own investigation, concluded the boy lied about the incident and faked the bruises by grabbing himself.
"I think the DA's office has been provided all the information they need," Adams said.
Prosecutors remained mum Thursday about any evidence they believe proves Garcia-Bratcher grabbed the boy. Brockley said authorities still have multiple witnesses yet to interview. "The investigation is ongoing," he said.
You can reach Staff Writer Paul Payne at 568-5312 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @ppayne.