DICKINSON, North Dakota — A southwestern North Dakota woman who authorities accuse of drowning her newborn baby in a toilet pleaded guilty to negligent homicide Tuesday.
The presiding judge accepted the plea of Stephanie Lindstrom, 42, of Bowman, conditional upon the state's pre-sentence investigation findings. Lindstrom had originally pleaded not guilty to murder and was to stand trial in March.
Authorities allege Lindstrom gave birth in the bathroom of her home on July 23. The baby was found in the toilet. Bowman police found out Lindstrom had given birth at home after officers responded to a call for medical help. The state's medical examiner later determined the baby had been born alive and died of drowning.
Prosecutors have 90 days to file the pre-sentence investigation. The judge could toss the plea after reviewing the findings.
Stark County Judge Dale Herauf during the hearing said he needs more information on why prosecutors would lessen the charge against Lindstrom, KXMB-TV reported (http://bit.ly/1kzW8l3).
The judge asked Bowman County prosecutor Andrew Weiss a few times if he believed the change was fair and reasonable. Weiss said he believed so and added that the Bowman police department supports the change.
Negligent homicide is a class C felony and carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Information from: KXMB-TV, http://www.kxnet.com