Teen Mom Pleads Not Guilty Because of Insanity in Newborn Murder Case


In August, an Alabama police department received a call from a local hospital stating that a teenager was attempting to retrieve her newborn son.

Jakayla Ashanti Williams, then 18, stated that within hours of giving birth at home on August 13, she left her infant in the hands of a hospital employee, according to a news statement from the Dothan Police Department.

However, there were no records of Williams leaving the infant at the hospital, which under the state’s Safe Haven Law allows women to abandon their undamaged newborns without fear of legal ramifications.

According to investigators, Williams never went to the hospital and instead allegedly left her kid for dead in a dumpster outside a nearby apartment complex. Almost a year later, Jakayla Ashanti Williams, 19, has pleaded not guilty to capital murder due to mental illness or defect, AL.com reports.

Ex-georgia Officer Rejects Plea Deal in Murder Case of Susana Morales

PEOPLE contacted the Circuit Criminal Clerk’s Office, which confirmed an earlier not-guilty plea but did not record the reason.

According to state law, the insanity plea asserts that because of “severe mental disease or defect,” she “was unable to appreciate the nature and quality or wrongfulness” of killing her kid.

To be found not guilty under such a claim, the teen’s lawyers must “prove by clear and convincing evidence” that she was suffering from a mental impairment “at the time of the offense” and was either “unable to appreciate the nature and quality” of her acts or “unable to appreciate the wrongfulness” of them, according to the law.

PEOPLE contacted Williams’ two defense lawyers for comments on the case and her mental health. Clay Wadsworth and Aimee Cobb Smith did not react on time for publication.

According to authorities, the adolescent stated at the time of the investigation that she did not want a kid since caring for the infant would be too expensive.

According to authorities, Williams’ family had no idea the adolescent was pregnant, but they discovered she had given birth the day before they transported her to Southeast Health Medical Center to seek the child on August 24.

During a police interrogation that day, Williams eventually revealed that after giving birth eleven days earlier, she had not taken her son to the hospital but had instead placed her baby – wrapped in a blanket – in the dumpster, according to authorities. She apparently stated that the baby was alive when she threw him away.

Investigators “sifted through the contents” of the dumpster, discovering the remains of a newborn “wrapped in a mattress protector that was in a zipped-up duffel bag,” according to police. After recovering the infant’s remains on August 24, they were sent to a forensics lab to confirm his identity.

Williams was arrested at 4:21 p.m. on August 24 and put into Houston County Jail on a capital murder charge. She is being held without bond, according to her online inmate roster.

“This is a horrible case that was very difficult to work and had an impact on the mental health of everyone involved including her family and the officers that worked it,” Wiliam Benny, the police chief, told PEOPLE

Benny cited the state’s “no questions asked” Safe Haven Law, claiming that the infant’s death could have been easily prevented.

“She could have dropped the baby off at the hospital like she claimed to have done with no legal implications,” Benny said, adding that since the case, “Baby Boxes” — which alert firemen when a baby is dropped off — have also been placed outside the Central Fire Station.

If convicted of capital murder in Alabama, the adolescent risks the death penalty.

If she is found not guilty based on her insanity plea, the court will decide whether or not to commit her to a mental health facility, according to AL.com.

Williams is still awaiting trial, and a new court date has not been scheduled.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.