The former Muskingum University sophomore accused of killing her newborn in April answered to several charges Wednesday in Muskingum County Common Pleas Court.
At her arraignment, Emile Weaver, 20, pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the charges of aggravated murder, gross abuse of a corpse, and two counts of tampering with evidence. Her maximum sentence could be life in prison with no parole.
Weaver was arrested last Wednesday in her hometown of Clarington, Ohio, exactly three months after the baby girl with the initials A.G.W. was found dead outside a campus-owned sorority house on Lakeside Drive. Members of her Delta Gamma Theta sorority were present at the arraignment.
The Muskingum County Coroner, Charles Feicht, said the cause of the baby’s April 22 death was asphyxiation after being tied in a tightly knotted trash bag. He said the baby was near full term, an estimated 38 weeks, at the time of birth.
Ohio’s Safe Haven grants a parent immunity from prosecution. Under the Ohio Revised Code, a parent is able to voluntarily deliver a child who is 72 hours old or younger to peace officers, hospital employees, or any medical service worker’s employer.
There are several safe haven options in New Concord. According to New Concord Fire Chief Brent Gates, a baby can be taken to the Wellness Center or University Police, both on campus. He said options off campus include the New Concord Police and Fire Departments and any hospital.
Gates said even though the Safe Haven Law is intended for newborns, his fire department wouldn’t hesitate to take a person of any age.
“If a mother tries to give you a four-year-old, you take it,” said Gates.
This is not the first time a baby has been found dead on Muskingum University’s campus. In 2002, 21 year-old Jennifer Bryant gave birth to her son at a university owned house on Lakeside Drive. Its body was also found in a trash receptacle.
Muskingum County Prosecutor The Hon. D. Michael Haddox also handled Bryant’s case, but says it differs from Weaver’s due to how the newborns died.
According to court records, Bryant was sentenced 4 years and 6 months for charges of involuntary manslaughter, child endangering, and abuse of a corpse. She served less than a year before being released.
Weaver’s case will be heard by Judge Mark Fleegle.