Accused mother makes first court appearance - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Janice Broach

Accused mother makes first court appearance

Sierra Williams showed little emotion as she made her first court appearance Monday morning on a reckless homicide charge.  Authorities say Williams buried her newborn baby in a garbage bag after giving birth on July 21.  The body was found last week. 

Williams said the she did not know she was pregnant, and the baby was dead when it was born.  She would not say whether the baby was a boy or a girl.

The judge greed with Williams' attorney, Leslie Ballin, that she is not a flight risk, and reduced her bond from $50,000 to $25,000.

"This is an interesting case," Ballin said. "one that of course is unusual from the stand point of whether or not my client knew that she was pregnant. That is an issue we will bring up."

Williams' neighbor discovered the newborn's body.  Barbara Kritchevsky, law professor at the University of Memphis, said it is a unique case.  "I think it's most unusual because of the circumstances under which the body was discovered," she said.

Kritchevsky said the Medical Examiner's findings on whether the baby was alive when it was born will be vital to the case.  "One of the thing's we'll look at is whether the Medical Examiner will tell us if the infant was stillborn," she said.

Officials said that may not make any difference.  Under Tennessee law, a viable fetus may be considered as a victim of homicide.

Monday, the District Attorney's offices said in a statement that based on available evidence, the most appropriate charge for Williams was reckless homicide.  That charge could change when the Medical Examiner's report is complete.

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