A South Carolina woman has been sentenced to five years in prison for killing her newborn son by leaving him in a refrigerator.
The incident occurred on Feb, 27, 2016. Authorities arrived at Angela Renee Blackwell's home after someone called 911, People reported. Baby Lewis, who was only 4 days old, was found dead of hypothermia after being left inside of a refrigerator by his mother.
“You can hear Angela in the background crying out, ‘I killed my baby. I killed my baby,’” South Carolina Sixth Circuit Deputy Solicitor Candice Lively told People.
Blackwell, 28, initially told police she found her child cold and unresponsive in his bassinet, but investigators “knew something was going on,” Lively said.
“The baby’s body temperature was so low it wouldn’t even register on their equipment, which was unheard of," Lively explained.
The mother eventually told authorities she woke up to her son crying at 5:30 in the morning. She then picked him up, placed him on the bottom shelf inside of the refrigerator and went back to sleep. She shut the refrigerator door behind her.
“I think that may have been the only place to put him so she wouldn’t hear him cry,” Lively said. “It is February and it is cold outside and she has nowhere else to go. No one was helping her and she was completely consumed. She was tired and frustrated and she felt trapped.”
Blackwell pleaded guilty to infliction of great bodily harm in the death of her infant son. She was initially charged with homicide by child abuse, but her charges were reduced by the state.
“I think she did not know the true consequences of the decision she made,” Lively explained. “She just doesn’t seem to understand or have that malicious intent. If you have a conversation with this girl and have any contact with her, she is so oblivious to consequences. You can just sense it when you talk to her.”
Attorney Mike Lifsey added that Blackwell appeared to have acted out of extreme stress, and did not intend to kill her child. He told the publication that the mother had an IQ of 58, and described her as a “very childlike woman in a very difficult circumstance.”
“I don’t think anyone thought she did it out of meanness,” Lifsey said.
"I don’t know what happened there. There is no maliciousness," Lifsey added. "She had gone to all the prenatal appointments. She said she was very, very stressed and she didn’t mean to hurt her baby.”
Lifsey also noted that his client "came from a very difficult background, abject poverty, and special education all through school."
Billy Lewis, Blackwell's father-in-law, initially maintained the suspect's innocence, WYFF reported.
"She didn't do it. We don't know who did," Lewis told the news station at the time. "We just know she didn't do it because she loves her kids too much."