A 26-year-old District Heights woman charged with murdering her newborn son last January was convicted of manslaughter and child abuse last night by a Prince George's County Circuit Court jury. Evelyn Sandra Ingram could be sentenced to 25 years in jail on both counts.
"This case tore everyone up emotionally," said Gary Courtois, an assistant state's attorney who prosecuted the case. "It was the most emotional case I've ever tried."
Ingram, who said she had been raped, abandoned her baby after giving birth in a wooded area near the apartment house where she lived. Police found the dead baby in freezing weather the following day.
The defense contended that Ingram had attempted to visit a prenatal clinic when she first felt labor pains. After finding it closed, it was said, she wandered into nearby woods, fell unconscious, and when she awoke found that her baby had been born while she was unconscious. After walking around and passing out again, she said that she awoke and found the baby had died, and she left it wrapped in a jacket by a tree.
The state said the woman never went to the clinic and after the baby was born in the woods, left it because she didn't want it.
"I know it's going to be difficult for you not to have compassion for this woman," Courtois said in closing arguments yesterday. "You're all human. But this woman is not a victim. She hurt the only totally innocent person in this case -- because she didn't want the baby."
The jury of nine men and three women found Ingram, who is single, innocent of charges of first- and second-degree murder. Ingram, who wore blue jeans and a blue-and-white sweater, was shaking as the jury read its verdict. She was released on personal bond and will be sentenced in October.