Utah woman charged with murder of six newborns

Megan Huntsman, charged with killing six newborns in Utah, faces five years to life on each count of felony murder.
By Frances Burns  |  April 28, 2014 at 1:11 PM
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PROVO, Utah, April 28 (UPI) -- A Utah woman was charged Monday with the murder of six newborn babies she allegedly delivered in secret and then choked or smothered.

Megan Huntsman, 39, of Pleasant Grove made a brief court appearance. She answered a few questions put by the judge in a low voice.

Huntsman was arrested April 12 after police found seven tiny bodies in her garage in Provo. Prosecutors say Huntsman killed six newborns between 1996 and 2006, and the seventh was born dead.

Utah County Prosecutor Jeffrey Buhman said Huntsman faces five years to life on each count of felony murder -- the maximum sentence set by state law at the time the babies allegedly died. The maximum now is the death penalty or 25 years to life.

"When these offenses occurred in 1996 to 2006, it was not a capital offense, it was not aggravated murder," Buhman said. "So in 2007, I believe the statute changed and would have allowed us, if this had occurred after that date, to file this as an aggravated murder."

Huntsman's husband, Darren West, found the first body after he was released from federal prison and reported the discovery to police. Buhman described West as "cooperative" and said he is not a suspect.

Investigators believe that West, who said he never knew his wife was pregnant, was the father of all the children. Buhman said DNA tests have not been finished.

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