A 20-year-old Olathe woman whose newborn baby was found dead in a trash can pleaded no contest Friday to second-degree murder.
Marissa Carol Fields also entered a no contest plea in Johnson County District Court to a charge of aggravated abandonment of a child.
After accepting the no contest pleas, a judge found her guilty and scheduled sentencing for Oct. 25.
Assistant District Attorney Erika DeMarco on Friday told the judge that Fields had not told anyone she was pregnant before delivering the baby girl on Dec. 19, 2014, in a bathtub at home.
Never miss a local story.
A relative discovered the infant girl inside a plastic bag in a trash can on Christmas night and called Olathe police the next morning.
Fields told detectives that the baby was cold and blue and not breathing when she was born.
But an autopsy determined that the baby’s lungs were expanded, which is “consistent” with a live birth.
The little girl appeared to be near full-term. She weighed 5 pounds, 6 ounces and was 19 inches long, according to the autopsy report.
Her cause of death was determined to be perinatal neglect, and it was classified as a homicide.
DeMarco said that detectives also found searches on Fields’ cellphone about natural ways to induce labor or a miscarriage.
Fields was initially charged in the case with first-degree murder, but she pleaded to second-degree murder as part of a plea agreement.
The agreement calls for attorneys to recommend the minimum sentences on each count, but the counts will run consecutive to each other.
Her sentence under Kansas guidelines would likely be in the range of 14 to 15 years in prison if the judge follows the recommendation.
Defense attorney Carl Cornwell said Fields had undergone a thorough mental evaluation after she was charged, but that doctors found no evidence she suffered from a mental condition that could be used as a defense.
He said the decision to take the plea was done after much “soul-searching.”
Fields was allowed to remain free pending sentencing.