Melissa Huckaby, the 29-year-old Tracy woman who you may recall kidnapped and murdered that 8-year-old girl last year, will appear in court this a.m. and is expected to receive a life sentence with no parole. Huckaby made a surprise guilty plea last month to the first degree murder and kidnapping of Sandra Cantu in March of 2009, and in exchange for the plea prosecutors dropped sexual abuse charges and took the death penalty off the table.

We've heard very little about the details in the case due to a gag order put in place throughout the trial by Judge Linda Lofthus. Judge Lofthus may, in a hearing later this afternoon that follows the sentencing, decide to lift the gag order and release some of the court documents — a move that many journalists are urging, perhaps because it will make for salacious news, but which will upset the Cantu family because they don't want further details about Sandra's death made public. [Contra Costa Times]
PREVIOUSLY: Cantu Suspect Melissa Huckaby Charged with Murder, Rape

Update: As expected, Huckaby received a life sentence without parole.