Due to this post from Roni Loren (thank you for the warning, Roni) I’ve decided to remove most photos from Thriller Thursday. I hope you’re still able to enjoy them!
For every family like my own, who struggled with infertility, there are dozens of unwanted children born to parents who are either unwilling or incapable of caring for them. Most states have safe haven laws (known in some states as Baby Moses Law) where a child can be left safely at a fire station without the repercussion of criminal charges. Many desperate parents choose to use this life-saving options.
Others kill. And the justice system can’t see fit to treat them equally.
In 1997 in Marysville, Ohio, 23-year-old Kathryn Burton delivered her third child, a boy, in a rusting bathtub of her small home. She told investigators the baby came quickly and she made no noise during the birth. The newborn wiggled his fingers and toes, and then Burton killed him. Police believe she struck his head against the tub.
Burton hid the baby under the bathroom sink while she dug a hole in the backyard and then buried the infant.
Burton was caught because she eventually had to go to the doctor for her bleeding and it was obvious she’d given birth. She finally confessed and told investigators where she buried the baby, but when they searched her yard, the infant was gone.
A second confession came: Roger took the baby. A married man, Roger Long lived across the street and allegedly only had sex with Burton once. He claimed she tried to hide the pregnancy but he was suspicious.
He found out what Burton had done three days after the baby boy was killed. He dug up the child, put him in a 2-gallon plastic bucket, and brought him home.
Long told investigators he reburied his son in the countryside. He led them to the spot, and sure enough, there was the pale skinned infant.
Kathryn has a low I.Q. and an eighth-grade education. She lived in squalor with relatives, including her two previous children. Some claim she was a victim, citing her low I.Q. and dire circumstances, and a part of me agrees. The woman and her living children clearly needed help.
Burton was sentenced to 15 years to life. Her first parole hearing was this month, and she was denied. She’ll stay in jail until at least 2020. Long was sentenced to 18 months in jail for obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence.
Should Kathryn be in prison for life? The harsh part of me says yes, she killed a child. How can there be any extenuating circumstances? But surely Roger Long should have more culpability than he’s been given. He knew what he was doing when he had sex with her, and if he thought she was pregnant, he should have stepped up. Instead, he left her alone, in deplorable conditions, and did nothing. At age 38, Kathryn could be released under orders to become sterilized, for she isn’t a threat to anyone else in society. But will justice have been done?
Labeled “The Prom Mom” by the media, 18-year-old Melissa Drexler delivered her baby in a restroom stall at her high school prom on June 6, 1997. She pulled the baby out of the water, cut the cord on the serrated edge of the sanitary napkin dispenser, wrapped the baby in garbage sacks and threw it away. Then she returned to the dance.
One student later noted that Melissa seemed to be enjoying herself at the prom.
A janitor responded to reports of blood in the restroom and then found the trash bag. Emergency workers spent two hours trying to resuscitate the infant, but it was too late. The autopsy determined Melissa had choked the baby and smothered him either with her hands or with the plastic bag.
No one at Lacey Township High School in Forked River, New Jersey knew Melissa was pregnant. I’m not sure how a five foot seven inch, 130 pound high school girl does that, but it’s apparently possible.
Drexler plead guilty to aggravated manslaughter on August 20, 1998 and was sentenced to fifteen years in prison, the maximum sentence. Melissa read the following statement to the court at the time of her sentencing:
“I knew I was pregnant.
I concealed the pregnancy from everyone.
On the morning of the prom my water broke.
While I was in the car on the way to the prom, I began to have cramps. I went to the prom and I went into the bathroom and delivered the baby.
The baby was born alive. I knowingly took the baby out the toilet and wrapped a series of garbage bags around the baby. I then placed the baby in another garbage bag, knotted it closed and threw it in the trash can.
I was aware of what I was doing at the time when I placed the baby in the bag. And I was further aware that what I did would most certainly result in the death of the baby.”
Melissa Drexler was released on parole after serving just over three years.
Now, how is it that a legally consenting adult, with no apparent disabilities, who admits she knew what she was doing and clearly had time to change her course of action, only serves three years while someone like Kathryn Burton is still in prison?
I’ve no doubt both women knew what they were doing was wrong, but what Drexler did is every bit as deplorable as Kathryn’s actions. I’m appalled this woman was released after just three years. Her case, in my opinion, screams of pure selfishness.
What do you think? Should Melissa Drexler have served more time? Is Kathryn Burton serving too much? Should there be a universal law regarding infanticide?