Megan Huntsman, the Utah mother charged with six counts of first-degree felony murder in the smothering/strangling deaths of six newborn babies, may be reaching a plea deal with prosecutors.
Charged with six counts of first-degree murder, the 39-year-old Huntsman has been held in Utah County Jail since April 13. Bail for Huntsman, who has not entered a plea, was set at $6 million.
According to police, the deaths occurred between January 1, 1996 and December 31, 2006. How Huntsman kept the murders of all these children a secret remains a mystery, but their deaths came to light in April when Darren West, her estranged husband, went to their Pleasant Grove home to retrieve some belongings.
Inside the garage, Miller wrote: West found the remains of a baby wrapped in plastic bags and a green towel and stuffed into a white box, sealed with electrical tape. Alerted to the grisly discovery, police later found six more infant corpses similarly stored inside other boxes.
Huntsman allegedly told investigators that she had killed six of the infants, while a seventh child was stillborn.
Now, local news reports Huntsman appeared Monday for an arraignment hearing, but did not enter any pleas due to the ongoing negotiations. here’s more from the Salt Lake City Tribune:
“We’re not ready to set trial and we’re not ready for a plea yet,” Deputy Utah County Attorney Jared Perkins said outside of court, adding that Huntsman and her attorneys are discussing an offer made by prosecutors.
Perkins said plea negotiations have been “pretty smooth,” but attorneys wanted to give Huntsman more time to consider her options before resolving the case. He declined to give specifics about the proposed resolution.
The Pleasant Grove woman is expected to be back in court Feb. 9. In December, Huntsman waived her right to a preliminary hearing.
Huntsman will not face the possibility of the death penalty under the near-decade-old murder statute in effect at the time of the crimes. Instead, she faces a maximum penalty for each count of five years to life in prison.
West and Huntsman have three living children together, all daughters, now ages 13 to 20.
Police have said that Huntsman used methamphetamine heavily and that her drug addiction was a motive for her crimes.
Pleasant Grove police Capt. Michael Roberts said in July that Huntsman told authorities she was using meth during the period when she allegedly smothered or strangled the infants and also was drinking during part of that time. The cost of feeding her addiction factored into the killings, Roberts said, adding that Huntsman alluded to a choice she was facing.
He also said DNA testing on the seven dead babies confirmed that all of them — five girls and two boys — were fathered by her husband.