Missouri woman who dumped baby gets 10 years

ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. | A mother who placed her newborn baby in a garbage bin pleaded guilty this morning and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Jessica M. Phillips, 24, of the 2200 block of Wedgewood Drive in Florissant, was charged with first-degree assault, a crime with a penalty range of five to 15 years in prison.

Police said Phillips gave birth to a baby girl on the morning of May 18, 2006 in her boyfriend’s bathroom in St. Charles. The baby was about 10 weeks premature. Paramedics discovered the baby alive inside a trash bin behind a restaurant on Droste Road.

The baby recovered and was later adopted.

Circuit Judge Lucy Rauch asked Phillips this morning if she had known the baby was alive when she put it in a plastic bag.

“No ma’am,” Phillips said. She kept her head bent, her long black hair obscuring her face through much of the pleading. She wiped tears from her eyes with a tissue.

Phillips’ attorney, Marc D. Lund, said his client has cognitive difficulties and emotional immaturity that affected her decision making.

Lund also said his client felt threatened that she had to put the baby in the trash bin. He would not say who had threatened her. Rauch upheld the terms of a plea agreement in sentencing Phillips to 10 years in prison.

Phillips must serve at least 8 years and six months of the sentence. Lund said she would receive credit for the time she has spent in jail awaiting resolution to her case. She has been jailed since her arrest in December 2006.

Prosecutors said the adoptive mother was in court for part of the sentencing hearing this morning.