By Dave Andrusko
Megan Huntsman, the Utah mother charged with six counts of first-degree felony murder in the smothering/strangling deaths of six newborn babies, waived her right to a preliminary hearing during a brief appearance Monday in Provo’s 4th District Court. As a result, Thursday’s preliminary hearing was cancelled.
Jessica Miller, a reporter for The Salt Lake Tribune, talked with
Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman about a possible plea deal. “Usually with a waiver of a preliminary hearing, we’re hopefully looking towards some resolution,” Buhman told Miller. “But it’s way too early to tell.”
As NRL News Today has reported, 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.
No motive was mentioned initially, but in July police suggested her heavy use of methamphetamine as an explanation. Pleasant Grove police Capt. Michael Roberts told reporters Huntsman alluded to “a choice she was making.”
Huntsman “had to make a decision between the drugs and the babies,” Roberts said.
Next month Huntsman, 39, will be back in court for an arraignment hearing. On January 26 she will enter pleas to the alleged crimes.
“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,“ Miller wrote. “Instead, she faces a maximum penalty for each count of five years to life in prison.”