An Iowa court has agreed to a plea deal for a woman who tried to flush her newborn son down a toilet before abandoning him in a hospital trash can, as reported by NBC 13.
Reports indicate that Ashley Hautzenrader, 24, was originally charged with attempted murder but made Alford pleas in regards to the neglect or abandonment of a dependent person. For reference, an Alford plea allows a “claim neither of guilt nor innocence toward charges brought against a defendant in criminal court,” according to Cornell Law School.
In court, Hautzenrader admitted that she “knowingly created substantial risk” to her son after giving birth to him on May 8, 2016. After trying to flush him down the toilet, she explained how she placed him in a pillow case and discarded him in a bathroom hospital trash bin. University of Iowa Hospital employees found the baby a short time later.
Judge Marsha Bergan said she read statements from nurses who discovered the newborn and heard his cries from inside the trash can.
A complaint revealed that the Davenport woman never got help for her son despite Iowa having Safe Haven laws in place. The statutes would have allowed the 24-year-old to safely leave the infant at the hospital without fearing prosecution.
Hautzenrader originally told police that she believed the child was dead and attempted to flush him. She also claimed that she didn’t know she was pregnant until giving birth, according to the Iowa City Press-Citizen.
Hautzenrader faced 25 years in prison if convicted of attempted murder. Pleading guilty to lesser charges means she only faces 12 years. Johnson County Attorney Janet Lynes mentioned that she could request a deferred sentence.
Sentencing is tentatively scheduled for September 1.
[Featured Image: Iowa City Police Department/Facebook]