By Kim Minugh
Courtney Kathleen Addington was sentenced today to 25 years to life in prison for the first-degree murder of her newborn baby girl.
During the sentencing, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Sharon A. Lueras called the acts of Addington "unconscionable" and "haunting."
She acknowledged that Addington, now 25, is by all accounts a caring person who has shown a passion in the past for children - a profile at odds with the facts of the case. She said she wished she could recommend probation and counseling, but she could not.
"I have to stand here for baby Hayden and let her know her life mattered, and her mother must (be held accountable) for ending her life in a cruel and callous way," Lueras said.
Addington stuffed the baby into a plastic garbage bag after giving birth earlier this year in her Rosemont home.
According to testimony at trial, Addington had told her boyfriend and her relatives that she had irritable bowel syndrome in the months before she gave birth Jan. 25, and that's why her abdomen began to expand. When her father found her bleeding profusely the morning of the birth, she claimed her injuries resulted from a bowel movement.
Emergency room personnel at Mercy General Hospital determined, however, that her bleeding resulted from having given birth. Authorities said she tried to cover up the birth because her boyfriend did not want to have children. Investigators dispatched to her home in Rosemont found the baby in the plastic bag under Addington's bed.
Lueras sentenced Addington after denying a motion for a new trial. Addington's attorney, Jesse Ortiz, argued that the court should have suppressed evidence gathered by Sacramento County sheriff's deputies who searched the woman's home hours after initiating a "welfare check," and that disturbing photos of the baby's body emotionally impacted jurors, impeding his client's ability for a fair trial.
The judge dismissed Ortiz's claims, acknowledging that the case against Addington was circumstantial but "overwhelming."