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Woman sentenced for throwing away baby at Port Richey Target

Christine Jamison is escorted by Deputy Cid Toldo as public defender Phil Cohen looks on at Friday’s hearing in New Port Richey.

JANEL SCHROEDER-NORTON | Times

Christine Jamison is escorted by Deputy Cid Toldo as public defender Phil Cohen looks on at Friday’s hearing in New Port Richey.

PORT RICHEY — Two years ago, inside the Target store off U.S. 19, Christine Jamison told her co-workers she felt sick.

After a few trips to the restroom, the stock worker came out with blood on her clothes. She went home.

A co-worker later found a dead baby girl in the bathroom trash.

In the words of her family's attorney, Jamison had "panicked" and "didn't know what to do."

On Friday afternoon, Jamison, now 31, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to five years in prison. An autopsy determined that the baby had been born alive on Sept. 11, 2006, one month premature.

Jamison — who, family and neighbors earlier testified, has limited mental capacity — stood stoically with her parents by her side during a 10-minute hearing at the West Pasco Judicial Center.

Circuit Judge Thane Covert acknowledged Jamison's learning disabilities and asked whether she understood the plea deal.

Covert said Friday that he found Jamison to be "alert and intelligent" and accepted a request by public defender Phil Cohen to have his client placed in a facility close to her parents' home in Hudson.

Jamison's family declined to comment. But the family's representative and attorney, J. Larry Hart, said he talked to Jamison about why she threw the baby away.

"She panicked," Hart said. "She didn't know what to do. For somebody with developmental disabilities like that, it's not uncommon. She doesn't process information quickly."

After an autopsy determined that the baby had been born alive, she was charged with second-degree murder. Under the terms of her plea Friday, however, she was convicted of the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Hart said Jamison has said she is remorseful about what happened that day.

"Not a day goes by that she doesn't think about it," Hart said.

Camille C. Spencer can be reached at cspencer@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6229.

Woman sentenced for throwing away baby at Port Richey Target 08/08/08 [Last modified: Sunday, August 10, 2008 1:01pm]
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