Megan Huntsman, the Utah mother charged with six counts of first-degree felony murder in the smothering/strangling deaths of six newborn babies,today pleaded guilty to killing each of those babies.
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 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.
Some pro-life advocates were upset by news last month of a potential plea deal, but Huntsman pleaded guilty to all six murder counts today. From ABC News:
Holding back emotions in court, Huntsman accepted responsibility for the 1st degree murders.
“It is a difficult case. Anytime six children are dead, it is difficult for us to negotiate at all,” says Utah District Attorney Jeff Buhman.
On April 13, 2014, Huntsman’s ex husband Darrien West found sevent infant bodies tucked away. Each baby was wrapped in shirts and towels, placed in small boxes inside the family garage in Pleasant Grove.
Police soon turned to Huntsman who lived in West Valley at the time of her arrest. She told officers she either strangled or suffocated all six babies immediately after they were born. The seventh child was stillborn.
“With the number of children she killed and the heinousness of this offense. The board of pardons has a life sentence, six life sentences to work with. We will be very shocked if she ever gets out,” said Buhman.
Huntsman told police she killed the babies because she was on drugs and didn’t want to care for them.
“It was very difficult for a lot of the investigators and obviously it is things that as officers we don’t expect to see and hope we never see again,” Det. Dan Beckstorm of the Pleasant Grove Police Department.
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.