Rowland Pleads Guilty to Child Endangerment

Rowland Pleads Guilty to Child Endangerment

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Jed Boal ReportingThe woman charged with murdering her stillborn baby boy by refusing a C-section cut a deal this morning that will likely spare her any prison time. Melissa Rowland pleaded -guilty to reduced charges. But her supporters do NOT like the deal.

When Melissa Rowland was charged with murder a month ago the case raised debate over a woman's right to make her own health choices. That debate may continue, but the case will end with Rowland getting out of jail and getting help.

Rowland Pleads Guilty to Child Endangerment

Rowland faced the judge this morning and pleaded guilty to get out of jail. She pleaded guilty to two counts of child endangerment for using cocaine while she was pregnant with the twins. Prosecutors drop the murder charge and Rowland gets out of jail and spends 18 months on probation and gets drug counseling.

When Rowland's history of mental illness came out the prosecution decided to plea bargain.

David Yocom, Salt Lake County District Attorney: “If the same thing should happen again, based on the knowledge we had at the time, we would have made the same decision."

Michael Sikora, Rowland's Attorney: “She decided it was in her best interest to resolve the case as quickly as possible, and I support her in that decision."

Rowland's supporters argue she never belonged in jail.

Andrea Moore Emmett, National Organization for Women: “She wanted out of jail very badly. This is a plea bargain to get out of jail."

Lorna Vogt, Utah Progressive Network: “She claims she's been abused in jail. She's not been receiving medical treatment. She's terrified and she would do anything at this point, even something to harm herself to get out of jail."

The prosecutor says he stands by the charge and believes a jury would have found Rowland guilty.

David Yocom, Salt Lake County District Attorney: “This was never a case about forcing anything on this defendant."

It's not a done deal until sentencing and the judge could send Rowland to prison if he disagrees with the prosecutor's recommendation. Rowland will be sentenced in three weeks.

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