Arraingment Postponed for Whittier Couple Found With Girl’s Body in Duffel Bag

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Johnny Lewis Hartley and Mercy Mary Becerra appear in court in San Diego in August 2016. (Credit: KSWB)

A Whittier couple were expected to appear in court Tuesday to face charges that they killed a 2-year-old girl after torturing her and taking her from her mother, whom they allegedly forced into prostitution.

Johnny Lewis Hartley, 39, and Mercy Mary Becerra, 43, were due for arraignment in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom, but the hearing was postponed to Oct. 25.

Both Lewis and Becerra have been charged with four felony counts: murder, human trafficking to commit pimping/pandering, torture and assault on a child causing death.

They were arrested by San Diego police on Aug. 9 after trying to cross on foot into Mexico. Customs agents at the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry found the body of a 2-year-old girl in a duffel bag carried by Lewis, police said.

The girl was the daughter of a woman whom the couple allegedly sexually trafficked between November 2012 and August 2016, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

The child was taken from her mother, severely abused and then killed around Aug. 9, prosecutors allege.

In a criminal complaint, the girl is identified as “Angelina W,” while her mother is named as “Amanda Z.”

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