A Nebraska teen who admitted to killing her newborn baby by throwing her out of a second-story window will not serve any time in prison after a juvenile court judge sentenced her to probation.
Antonia Lopez, 16, of Omaha, could be on probation until she turns 19, and was ordered to live in a group home by Judge Christopher Kelly, the Omaha World-Herald reports.
Lopez was also ordered by Kelly to perform community service, take part in therapy and delete her Facebook profile, the newspaper reports. The judge said the Facebook page should be deleted because of the thousands of negative comments she has received on it since news of her arrest last year.
Police said Lopez gave birth to her daughter on September 30, 2016, and threw the baby outside before telling her mother what she did.
Lopez’s mother found the baby and told police she was “distraught and frantic,” when she called 911 at 4:12 a.m. She performed CPR on the baby until paramedics arrived. Lopez and the newborn were rushed to the hospital, where the baby, who was 14 inches long and weighed 2 pounds, was pronounced dead.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Lopez Took a Photo of the Newborn & Sent It to the Baby’s Father on Snapchat Before Throwing Her Out of the Window
After giving birth to the baby girl, Antonia Lopez took a photo of the newborn and sent it to the baby’s father on Snapchat, KMTV reports. She wrote along with the photo, “it was a girl by the way,” police said.
She had been sending Snapchat messages to the baby’s father while she was giving birth, according to KMTV.
“Babe I’m having contractions in my lower abs, it hurts so much,” Lopez wrote in one message. “I’m in so much pain.”
Lopez told police she thought she gave birth to a stillborn, according to the news station. She wrote in a Snapchat message, “Babe I had a miscarriage,” along with a crying face emoji, police said.
She told detectives she didn’t know she was pregnant and woke up on September 30 in pain. She said she laid a towel on the floor of the bedroom because she thought she was having her period, the Omaha World-Herald reports.
Her boyfriend, the baby’s father, disputed her claim she didn’t know she was pregnant, telling police he had told Lopez to talk to her mother about the pregnancy and to see a doctor, but she didn’t.
An autopsy found that Lopez had been pregnant about 25 to 28 weeks, and was in about the seventh month of gestation, according to the World-Herald.
A pathologist testified during Lopez’s sentencing that the baby suffered bleeding near her skull, brain, spine and abdomen, and the bleeding indicated there was a heartbeat. The pathologist said the baby was born alive and sustained blunt-force injuries.
“We have medical evidence that the child was born alive and that the defendant took these actions and those resulted in the child’s death,” said Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine told KMTV. “Certainly this child was in a fragile state at the time it was born that needed care and obviously the care wasn’t provided by the defendant in this case.”
2. She Posted on Facebook ‘Who Can Do Me a Huge Favor & Has a Car?’ After Giving Birth
On September 30, Lopez posted on her Facebook page, “Who can do me a huge favor and has a car?” The post was made about 3:40 a.m., after she had given birth.
The post has received nearly 2,000 comments, many of which include angry and threatening messages from those who read about the case online, leading to the judge’s order for Lopez to delete the profile. As of March 27, the page remained active.
Comments have also been left on several of Lopez’s other photos, with many saying they hate her and she is evil, calling her a bitch and telling her to kill herself. Some commenters have come to her defense, saying she is young and didn’t know what to do.
Lopez was a student at Omaha Central High School, according to her Facebook page.
Her Facebook page seems like that of a typical high school girl, filled with selfies and Snapchat screenshots, and there is no mention of her pregnancy.
She did post a photo with a baby doll in January 23, 2016, with the caption, “This thing so annoying.”
It appears the doll was part of a school assignment, and was not related to her pregnancy.
3. Authorities Cited Her Mental State & Lack of a Criminal Record as Reasoning for the Lenient Punishment
Lopez pleaded guilty to negligent child abuse resulting in death, a felony, in February and was sentenced on March 24. She faced 20 years to life in prison because she was charged as an adult, but the case was moved to juvenile court.
According to the Omaha World-Herald, District Attorney Dan Kleine said his office agreed to move the case to juvenile court, where the sentencing would be more lenient, after “weighing the teenager’s mental state, actions and lack of criminal record.”
Lopez’s attorney, Rebecca McClung, said Lopez’s only previous arrest was on a theft charge.
Judge Christopher Kelly sentenced her to probation so she can get her life “back on the right track,” KETV reports.
The probation is open-ended, meaning Kelly can order her to remain under supervision until she turns 19.
The judge said in court that he is not sure if anyone can ever put an incident like this behind them.
4. Prosecutors Said There Are Concerns That Lopez & Her Family Don’t Understand the Severity of Her Actions
Prosecutors said during Lopez’s sentencing that there are concerns that she and her family do not understand the severity of her actions, according to the Omaha World-Herald.
Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Chrystal-Clark asked the judge to order Lopez placed in a group home for that reason, the newspaper reports.
Jennifer McClung, Lopez’s defense attorney, said the prosecutors are wrong about her client, and repeated the claim that Lopez believed she had a miscarriage.
“To say she doesn’t understand is disingenuous,” McClung said in court. “She understands. She’s coping the best she can. The mother is coping the best she can. The grandmother is coping the best she can.”
McClung asked that Lopez be allowed to live at home with her mother, but District Attorney Don Kleine said the girl is “unemotional” and needs to be in a group home setting.
“I’ve heard that there’s a little bit of a affect issue. And by that I mean, it seems as though she doesn’t realize how serious this was,” Kleine said in court, according to KETV.
5. She Will Remain at a Juvenile Detention Center Until She Can be Placed in a Group Home
Antonia Lopez has been held at the Douglas County Youth Center since her arrest in September 2016, according to the Omaha World-Herald. Her bail had been set at $500,000.
Her attorney told the court she needs to receive therapy, which she has not been while at the juvenile detention center. But Lopez will remain there until authorities can find a group home that will take her.
Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Chrystal-Clark said many facilities have turned Lopez down because they consider her a risk as a result of her felony child abuse conviction. Lopez’s attorney, Jennifer McClung, said her client is not a risk and should be allowed to live at home while on probation.
“There was some talk about Boys Town, but there was a question if the facility could take her or handle her at this time. So there will be another spot that she’ll be placed if that doesn’t work,” Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said in court, KETV reports.