An Iowa woman who pled guilty to abandoning her newborn baby in a trash can at a hospital was sentenced to five years of probation in lieu of prison time, The Iowa City Press-Citizen reported.
Ashley Hautzenrader, 24, had entered an Alford plea of guilty to child endangerment and to neglect or abandonment of a dependent person.
At one point during her sentencing, Hautzenrader addressed the court uninterrupted for 30 minutes, saying she was at the hospital to begin with because her other child had been admitted to the intensive care unit for a serious heart condition.
"I'm just asking you to listen and try to understand what I've been through," Hautzenrader said.
She gave birth to a baby in a University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics bathroom on May 8, 2016.
Police said that she believed that the baby she had given birth to was dead and tried to flush the child down a toilet before leaving the baby instead in a pillowcase in the trash.
The baby was later discovered alive by hospital employees.
Hautzenrader said she "didn’t know [she] was pregnant" at the time she gave birth.
A psychiatrist told the court that she believed Hautzenrader was suffering from PTSD surrounding months of hospitalization for her first child, as well as a condition called pregnancy denial.
Hautzenrader was originally charged with attempted murder in the case, which was dropped as part of the plea deal. Judge Marsha Bergan said that she made her decision to grant the defendant a probation instead of jail time due to Hautzenrader’s age, lack of prior convictions, and agreement to enter therapy for PTSD.
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