By Dave Andrusko
Megan Huntsman plead guilty yesterday to murdering six of her newborn babies between 1996 and 2006.
She admitted to choking or smothering them to death and hiding their bodies in her Pleasant Grove, Utah garage.
Sentencing is scheduled for April 20. How that plays out will ultimately be decided by Judge Darold McDade.
Huntsman faces five years to life in prison for each of the six murders. But in exchange for her guilty pleas (which means Huntsman gave up her right to appeal), prosecutors agreed to recommend that her sentences run concurrently instead of consecutively, according to Pat Reavy of the Deseret News.
“Which will probably help her a little bit when she gets to the prison and the classification she gets when she gets into prison. It may allow her to get into general population a little sooner than she otherwise would,” said Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman.
Regardless if the sentences run concurrent or consecutive to each other, Buhman said he would be “shocked” if the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole didn’t keep Huntsman in prison for the rest of her life.
“They have six life sentences they can use to manage her time. So we’ll be surprised if she ever gets out of prison,” he said. “There are very few people at the Utah State Prison who are responsible for six murders of infants. So, our hope is she will probably spend the rest of her life in prison.”
There are still loose ends to the case which began in April 2014 when Darren West, her estranged husband, went to their home to retrieve some belongings. There 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,” the Salt Lake City Tribune reported. “Alerted to the grisly discovery, police later found six more infant corpses similarly stored inside other boxes.” (It was later determined that the seventh baby was stillborn.)
For example, how did Huntsman kept the murders of all these children a secret ? How could West, who was the biological father of all the babies, not know what was taking place.
Then there is the question why in the world did she keep the babies’ bodies in bins in the garage? Pleasant Grove police detective Dan Beckstrom told reporters he had discussed this with the 39-year-old Huntsman but declined to repeat exactly what she’d told him. What he did say, according to Reavy, is
“It truly is unexplainable. We did have those discussions with her, and I’m just not prepared to give details about that right now,” he said.
“She didn’t have a good answer — one that you would understand or I would understand,” Buhman added. “I don’t think she has an explanation.”
Huntsman’s motive? Jessica Miller of the Tribune previously reported
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.
“She had to make a decision between the drugs and the babies,” Roberts has said.
According to a search warrant affidavit, when the babies were found. Huntsman told police that were eight or nine dead babies in her home.
“But police later concluded Huntsman was confused and was taking a ballpark guess.”