Murder charges dropped against mother

April 29, 2004 at 9:44 PM
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SALT LAKE CITY, April 29 (UPI) -- A woman charged with murdering her stillborn baby by refusing a Caesarean section will not serve any prison time, KSL-TV Salt Lake City reported Thursday.

A judge sentenced Melissa Rowland to 18 months probation for child endangerment, and ordered her to enter a drug treatment program.

Rowland's attorney said the sentence is what Rowland wanted: to get out of jail and get on with her life. She will serve 18 months probation for child endangerment charges, due to her using cocaine while pregnant. One baby survived and was adopted.

Rowland pleaded guilty to the lesser charges earlier this month, as part of a plea deal. Prosecutors then dropped the murder charge. Her attorney said the sentence is an appropriate resolution. He also said Rowland fell through the cracks because the system doesn't take care of people who don't have the money to get help. However, prosecutors defended their initial decision to charge Rowland with murder, and said they would do the same in any case.

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