COLUMBUS (WTRF) — The Supreme Court of Ohio ruled that a college student sentenced to life in prison for murdering her newborn baby on campus can have a new sentencing hearing, according to Court News Ohio.
Emile Weaver of Clarington, Ohio in Monroe County was found guilty of murdering her newborn baby in the bathroom of her sorority house at Muskingum University in 2016. She was a sophomore.
Local authorities say that the baby was born alive, before being placed in a trash bag where the child suffocated.
The Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that Weaver received ineffective assistance of counsel when her lawyer did not explain neonaticide, which is the murder of an infant within 24 hours of birth at her sentencing hearing. Neonaticide can be considered an act of panic and not a premeditated act.
The Muskingum County Common Pleas Court had denied Weaver’s claim that her counsel was ineffective. The Fifth District Court of Appeals upheld the decision of the Common Pleas court about the counsel’s effectiveness. However, the Supreme Court reversed this decision.
Justice R. Patrick DeWine wrote a dissenting opinion that Weaver’s lawyer was not ineffective in explaining neonaticide, and wrote that “Weaver’s defense at trial was that she did not kill her baby, but rather that the baby died of natural causes. Expecting the defense to explain how Weaver suffered from pregnancy negation would undermine the argument that she did not kill the baby.”
The Supreme Court remanded the case to the trial court with instructions that another trial judge conduct the sentencing.