Katie Stockton, the 32-year-old woman from Illinois who left her healthy newborn daughter on a rural highway in the middle of winter to freeze to death, was just sentenced to 50 years in prison.
The frozen baby's remains were found in December 2004 and she became known as "Baby Crystal." Investigators questioned Stockton immediately after the body was discovered, and she reportedly lifted her shirt and asked them if she looked like she had just given birth. The murderer mom wasn't ultimately arrested until 2009 when the police finally had the DNA evidence they needed to nail her.
Stockton did not admit to killing her baby until February of this year.
Apparently, Stockton hid her pregnancy from friends and family (who had their suspicions) and gave birth to the baby in secret. Then she stuffed the baby into a shopping bag and left it on the road. Because of the frigid temperatures, the baby was perfectly preserved. After she was arrested in 2009, investigators searched Stockton's car, which had been sitting in an impound lot for a year. There they found the decomposed skeletal remains of two other infant girls stuffed in separate plastic bags (the babies had different fathers). Stockton hasn't been charged in those deaths but before handing down his sentence, the judge did allow testimony concerning the crime.
It also turns out that Stockton once tried to hide another pregnancy -- that of her now 12-year-old son -- but her mother (who testified on her behalf) discovered her "in the nick of time."
Stockton's crime(s) were atrocious. None of us can ever quite comprehend a mother taking her own child's life, but is the 50-year sentence fair? Interestingly, her attorney asked that she be kept in prison about 25 years -- only until her "child-bearing years were finished." He said Stockton's one incredible failing is her "inability to face the fact of her pregnancy."
Stockton isn't a total monster without remorse, and she did express regret at the sentencing:
I was in a very dark place for many years. I apologize to those I hurt and ask forgiveness. I’m truly sorry for the pain and hurt they have endured.
And she is a drug addict.
Her mom said she was a happy girl whose life started to go downhill in high school. Should we feel sorry for her? Give her leniency? Put her into rehab?
I do wonder.
But I don't think so.
Three beautiful babies are gone -- and who knows, there could be more. It's the repetition of her crime that is horrifying. This isn't a woman who, strung out on drugs, left her baby to die. She did it again and again. She lied about it. She tried to cover it up. She deserves what she got. They have rehab in prison. She can get better there.
Do you think drug addiction is an excuse for these crimes? Does this woman deserve prison time?