A Davenport, Iowa, woman who left her newborn baby in a hospital trash can last year was sentenced to probation on Friday.
The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports that Judge Marsha Bergan suspended a prison sentence and handed five years’ probation to Ashley Hautzenrader, 24. Hautzenrader gave birth to a baby boy in a University of Iowa Hospital (UHIC) bathroom on May 8, 2016. She claimed that she thought the baby was dead and tried to flush it down the toilet before leaving him in a pillowcase in the trash, cleaning up the bathroom, and leaving.
University of Iowa Hospital employees found the baby a short time later. In court, Judge Bergan revealed she read statements from nurses who discovered the infant and heard his cries from inside the trash can.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Hautzenrader agreed to a plea deal and entered an Alford plea for a neglect or abandonment of a dependent person charge in August. 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.
At one point, Hautzenrader told officers that she didn’t know she was pregnant. In court, she explained that she was at the UHIC on the day in question because her other child was admitted into intensive care for a heart condition they’ve had since before birth. The 24-year-old described traveling from Davenport to the UHIC for more than a year due to her first child’s medical issues.
“I’m just asking you to listen and try to understand what I’ve been through,” Hautzenrader said in court.
The Davenport woman faced two years for the child endangerment charge and ten years for neglect or abandonment of a dependent person. The sentences would have been served concurrently. As part of her plea deal, prosecutors dropped an attempted murder charge in August, according to the Press-Citizen.
Instead, Judge Bergan considered Hautzenrader’s age, her lack of a criminal record, and that she agreed to undergo PTSD treatment immediately after the May 2016 incident.
Judge Bergan also ordered Hautzenrader to complete “considerable” community service and pay court fees.
[Featured Image: Iowa City Police Department/Facebook]