A Winnebago County woman who left her newborn baby outside gets sent to prison for the next 5 decades. Katie Stockton will be almost 80 years old when released.
Stockton made a deal to plead guilty to killing her infant daughter two months ago, but wanted the sentence decided by a judge.
Despite her lawyer arguing Stockton should only spend 25 years in jail, Judge John Truitt thought her crime was too heinous. "...Choose for lack of a better word, play judge, jury and executioner, and put her on road side like yesterday's garbage," said Judge Truitt during the sentencing.
In December 2004, a newborn baby girl investigators named Crystal was found frozen to death on a Winnebago County road.
Katie Stockton was a suspect but police never had enough evidence to force a DNA test. It took four and a half years before detectives got Stockton's DNA proving she was Crystal's mother.
Stockton was arrested in 2009 and initially pleaded not guilty in the case.
Even with that, Stockton denied killing crystal until two months ago. Stockton's trial was due to begin on Monday, February 25, but in a last-minute court appearance, Stockton pleaded guilty to one count of felony first degree murder.
She admitted wrapping her baby in clothes and plastic bags and leaving the newborn on the ground as her guilty plea.
The other 11 first degree murder charges she faced were dropped.
"I apologize to those who have been hurt, and I humbly ask for forgiveness. I want to express to my family my son's family that I am truly sorry for all the anger, pain, and hurt," said Stockton.
During the sentencing, investigators described the scene when Baby Crystal was found wrapped in a plastic bag with bloody clothes. Michael Pearson of the Winnebago County Sheriff's Department described the moment when he looked into the bag.
"Blood that appeared to be significant in an amount, and then hence it became more significant when I then looked into the bag." Pearson said when he opened the bag, he saw the backside of "a small, newborn baby that was frozen."
Her lawyer, David Doll, argued Stockton changed since 2004, working 3 jobs and being allowed to live back in her parents' house. "Even before she ever appeared in front of this court, before she was ever arrested and charged with this court, or in front of this court, that she had spent about a year getting away from the bad companions, the drug lifestyle and even surprised her own family by doing the things she was supposed to do," said Doll.
Winnebago County State's Attorney Joe Bruscato says Judge Truitt wanted to send a strong message to the community through Stockton's conviction."There's a lot of options that are available to an individual who's in this position. adoption, safehaven, family. and when you make choices to avoid or not make use of those options, the message is that there are severe consequences for that," says Bruscato.
The skeletons of two other infants were found in August 2009 in the trunk of Stockton's impounded car. She has not been charged in those cases. Judge Truitt argues since the autopsies on the remains came back inconclusive as to how they died, he left that out of his decision.
Stockton has already spent 4 years in jail, that time will count towards her 50 year sentence.
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