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Judge postpones house arrest decision for Florida inmate who became pregnant while incarcerated

A judge on Wednesday postponed a decision on whether to transfer a Florida inmate who became pregnant while incarcerated from county jail to house arrest, pending the release of medical and corrections records first.

Daisy Link, 28, has been at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center in Miami-Dade County since June 2022. On Christmas Day, she called family members from jail and told them she was pregnant, according to her sister, Crystal Barreto. The circumstances that led to the pregnancy are unclear and have prompted an investigation by the Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department.

Link is awaiting trial on a charge of second-degree murder that her attorney, Marlene Montaner, says arose from a domestic violence incident during which Link feared for her life. She has been held without bond at the correctional center, which houses both male and female inmates, and does not have a trial date set yet. 

Daisy Link.
Daisy Link.Courtesy Crystal Barreto

At a hearing Wednesday, Montaner asked Judge Lody Jean to reconsider a previous order denying Link’s pretrial release, saying Link is now about 19 weeks pregnant but has received prenatal vitamins on only 19 days of her pregnancy. She suggested Link live with her sister under home confinement with electronic monitoring instead of being behind bars.

“There is an alternative to her being incarcerated,” Montaner said in court. “My client’s baby’s health is at risk.” 

Link appeared in court for the hearing and answered several questions from the judge, agreeing when asked whether she consented to have her medical records introduced in court. More medical records dating back to the start of her pregnancy will now be turned over to the prosecution, and corrections records documenting Link’s requests for health treatment in jail will be turned over to the judge, who will review them to see if they have evidentiary value and can be used by the defense.

Montaner said Link’s records show that she asked jail officials for a pregnancy test as early as Nov. 7 but was not granted one until late December. She said Link has also asked for, and been denied, Gatorade to help with dehydration from morning sickness. 

The Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the allegations. A spokesperson for the department told NBC News that pregnant inmates receive “timely and appropriate prenatal care” and said the department confirmed Link’s pregnancy after a thorough medical exam, but it has not commented on who may have impregnated her. 

“While there is no evidence of sexual battery against our inmate at this time, the circumstances surrounding the pregnancy are currently under active investigation,” the spokesperson said in an email in January. 

Montaner said Link needs to be transferred out of jail as soon as possible.

“I am very worried that we keep postponing a decision,” Montaner said in a phone interview after Wednesday’s hearing. “The baby deserves the protection of the court and the protection of having the right care.” 

In court, Montaner said that “it was not an assault” that caused her client’s pregnancy but she did not elaborate on the situation. Barreto, Link’s sister, said Link has not felt comfortable sharing details over the jail’s recorded phone lines and Montaner said Florida does not allow conjugal visits. 

‘I was just trying to scare him’

Link’s murder charge arose from a situation involving an abusive partner, according to Montaner, who shared photos with NBC News that appear to show Link with blood running down her shoulder from her head. Montaner said the injuries were the result of abuse her client had endured days before she fired a weapon in June 2022.

According to an arrest affidavit for Link obtained by NBC News, the man who was killed had a gunshot wound to his right leg. The affidavit says that Link told investigators, “I didn’t mean to shoot him; I was just trying to scare him.”

The affidavit adds that Link said that she and the man had had a verbal argument earlier and that he then left the residence.

“The defendant explained that she armed herself with a firearm and awaited the victim’s return,” it says. When he came back, the two got into another argument and the man said he would lock Link out of the house, Link told investigators, per the affidavit.

The man then began “running to the residence when she subsequently shot” him, the affidavit says.

Montaner has said that Link was outside when the incident happened and fired a single shot in the dark “out of fear.”

Montaner reiterated Wednesday that she felt Link was acting in self-defense.

“What I want the judge to consider is that she really wasn’t a danger to anybody, but the man who’s deceased,” Montaner said. “It’s not fair for her to be in jail. It wasn’t fair before she got pregnant.”

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