Saturday, December 4, 2004

Woman gets 76 days in prison for drowning baby when she was 16

Associated Press

PONTIAC -- A Detroit woman will serve 76 days in prison for second-degree murder for drowning her newborn daughter in a toilet at a hospital examining room when the woman was 16.

Oakland County Circuit Judge Denise Langford-Morris on Thursday sentenced Selena Jones, now 18, to two to 15 years in state prison. The judge gave her credit for 654 days Jones spent on a tether.

On May 28, a jury convicted her after three and a half days of deliberations. She could have received up to life in prison.

Eight jurors wrote letters to Langford-Morris, telling the judge that they stood by their verdict but wanted leniency for Jones. They cited her age, her confusion the night she went to the Southfield hospital's emergency room and the possibility that she had been overcharged.

"I'd like you to know I don't think I should be sent to prison," Jones said before the sentencing. "Not a day goes by that I don't think of my daughter. I went to the hospital for help, not to murder my daughter."

"She killed a living, full-term human being," said Assistant Oakland County Prosecutor John Skrzynski. "This little person ... was completely helpless and completely defenseless."

Prosecutors say that Jones barricaded herself in a lavatory at Providence Hospital in Southfield on Oct. 28, 2002, delivered the girl and put her in a toilet.

Witnesses said Jones had not told anyone at the hospital she was pregnant when she was admitted for severe stomach cramps.