Mom sentenced for leaving newborn in dumpster to die

December 07, 2016 06:47 PM

The mother of a baby boy left for dead in a dumpster in Livingston is headed to prison.

Tara Tomlin was sentenced Wednesday to five years in prison and five years of post-release supervision.

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It was a very sad moment in the Columbia County courtroom Wednesday afternoon. The judge, the district attorney and the defense lawyer all say this is one of the saddest cases they've ever worked on.

Tomilin apologized in court for her actions, saying this will never happen again, just before the judge imposed the sentence.

Back in November 2015, Tomlin gave birth to a baby boy at the Xtra Mart where she worked in Livingston. Authorities say she placed the newborn in a plastic bag and threw the bag in the trash. Witnesses say she then went back to work and was still ringing people up while covered in blood after giving birth.

Tomlin was originally charged with second-degree murder. It was reduced to manslaughter. Her attorney, Mike Howard, says she took responsibility for her actions.

"It’s a tragic case. I mean, she grew up in abject poverty, had some special education classes and issues," explained Howard. "You know, her child’s dead. She got no help, no support. The community tried to rally around her but it was after the fact."

"There are a great number of ways that people can handle the situation when you're in crisis like she was with respect to her child. She knew and took advantage of none of them," pointed out Paul Czajka, the Columbia County District Attorney.

The district attorney says Tomlin could have dropped her newborn at the hospital just down the road. He says millions of people would have loved to take care of that baby. That's the message he hopes people will take away from this tragedy to prevent it from happening again.

Had Tomlin used the "Safe Haven Law," she wouldn't be facing any charges. In New York, you can bring your baby to a hospital or police station within 30 days of birth, no questions asked. In this case, there was a police barracks about a quarter-mile away.


WNYT Staff

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