Whitesburg KY

Plea okayed in ’98 death of newborn

Formal sentencing is set for next month in Pike Circuit Court for a mother who has pleaded guilty in the 1998 death of her infant daughter.

Delania Hylton Fields pleaded guilty to third-degree fetal homicide on February 22. Letcher Commonwealth’s Attorney Edison G. Banks II will recommend that Fields be sentenced to 10 years in prison, with credit for the five years and seven months she served before she was released on appeal in May 2005. The court will decide at the April 11 hearing if the balance of the sentence which will be probated will be supervised or not.

The plea agreement reached between Banks and Fields says Fields “wantonly caused the death of her unborn female infant by failing to obtain prenatal care and by wantonly giving birth in an unsafe environment and/or by failing to provide medical care to her infant immediately after its birth.”

The newborn was found inside a garbage bag that had been placed inside a closet of the mobile home Fields shared with her husband at Kingscreek. Fields was released from prison after the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that she should be granted a new trial because of ineffective assistance of council.

Last month’s plea agreement was reached after Pike Circuit Judge Steven D. Combs granted a motion by Fields to suppress her July 27, 1998 statement to Kentucky State Police Detective Avery Shrum.

Combs’s order of February 5 said Fields “had a significant amount of bleeding associated with the birth of her daughter and was hospitalized at the time of her statement to Shrum.”

Dr. Mark Thomma said because of the significant blood loss, Fields did not have the required oxygen in her brain necessary to make knowing, intelligent and voluntary decisions while being questioned by Shrum.

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