Mother pleads guilty to manslaughter in newborn's death, receives 12-year sentence

Joann King
Joann King

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A mother accused of killing her newborn in 2002 has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the baby's death and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

The judge ordered Joann King, 30, to serve those 12 years without the possibility of parole or probation. She was also given a 10-year suspended sentence on a charge of cruelty to a juvenile.

Once she is released from prison on the manslaughter charge, she must serve five years of home incarceration. A manslaughter conviction in Louisiana carries a sentence of five to 40 years. She was initially charged with first-degree murder.

The Baton Rouge Police Department said DNA helped detectives crack the case two years ago. Investigators said the tiny baby girl came into this world and was put in a dumpster instead of a crib.

From the start, King was a suspect. Police said every few years their detectives revisit unsolved cases. Detectives added both new and old leads, as well as evidence, led them to King in January 2012.

During the initial investigation in 2002, detectives said King was among six women they looked at as potential suspects. DNA samples were sent to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab in 2002.

Police added that at the time, King denied any involvement in the baby's death. However, when detectives reopened the case, King's DNA was the only sample that was a close match to the baby girl.

Investigators said that match led them to her house and to a second interview where some questions from 2002 were answered.

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