A former student at Southwestern Assemblies of God University was sentenced Wednesday to more than six years in a state prison for the death of her newborn child.
To avoid a jury trial, Natalie Annell Weaver, 21, of Springfield, Missouri, pleaded guilty to a second-degree felony charge of manslaughter and a state jail felony charge of abuse of a corpse, according to a press release issued by the Ellis County and District Attorney's Office.
Weaver was sentenced to five years confinement for the manslaughter charge and 400 days for the abuse of corpse charge.
The maximum punishment for the manslaughter charge was 20 years, while the state jail felony carried a maximum sentence of two years.
According to the Waxahachie Police investigation, officers were dispatched for a welfare check in a dormitory on the SAGU campus on April 17, 2018. Dispatchers informed officers that Weaver was believed to have given birth to a baby in the on-campus dorm.
Once inside the dorm, court-provided documents state officers observed "multiple locations with both wet and dried blood." Officers then located a deceased female newborn in a plastic bag inside a trashcan.
According to the ECDA release, Weaver initially denied giving birth to the baby. The release also notes "it was obvious from evidence gathered during the investigation, however, that Weaver delivered the baby in a dormitory bathroom."
The release states Weaver is guilty of failing to seek medical assistance for the baby, who was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck.
An Ellis County grand jury indicted Weaver on Oct. 10, 2018.
As previously reported by the Daily Light, Weaver turned herself in to Ellis County Sheriff's Deputies at the Wayne McCollum Detention in Waxahachie at 9:59 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018. She posted the $35,000 bond and was released from custody at 10:54 a.m. the same day.
A SAGU spokesperson previously informed the Daily Light that Weaver was enrolled in the university from Sept. 2017 - May 2018. A 2016 university-issued press release also noted Weaver was one of 12 student-athletes to sign a national letter of intent to play softball at SAGU ahead of the 2017 season. It also noted that, while attending Kickapoo High School in Springfield, Missouri, Weaver was the recipient of the Diamond Character Award from the Softball World Series.
Following the guilty plea, Ellis County and District Attorney Patrick Wilson commended the Waxahachie Police Department for its investigation and diligent work "on this emotional case." Wilson called Weaver's actions "horrific and inhumane" and stated "a precious newborn was literally thrown in the garbage by her own mother. It's both shocking and mind-boggling. And it didn't have to happen."
"Texas has a Baby Moses Law that allows and encourages mothers to take unwanted infants to designated safe havens, such as hospitals or fire stations," Wilson added. "All Weaver had to do was take her baby to one of those locations, just minutes away. She would have avoided prosecution and, more importantly, her baby girl would probably still be alive. Please let this be a reminder to young mothers in distress that there are safe alternatives. The gift of life is too important to throw away."
For more information on Texas' Baby Moses Law, visit http://bit.ly/2xMlKXi.