Shelby Taylor turned herself in to police on April 10, 2015, after her baby was found in a dumpster, reports WBTW.
Two brothers taking out the trash thought they heard the cry of a kitten coming from an apartment complex dumpster, only to discover a newborn wrapped in a trash bag. The baby, only a few hours old, still had the umbilical cord attached.
A jury convicted the South Carolina woman of attempted murder after she pleaded not guilty. Taylor faces up to 30 years in prison.
Attorneys for the defendant argued Taylor was suffering from transient peripartum psychosis at the time she placed her newborn daughter in the trash and pushed for the jury to consider the lesser charge of first-degree assault and battery, reports WMBF.
During closing arguments, Taylor's defense attorney Dean Mureddu said, in part: “It’s denial, it’s delusional and child-like reasoning. Transient peripartum psychosis explains the bizarre behavior of Shelby.”
According to The Sun News, defense expert witness, psychologist Robert McCarthy, testified that there are approximately 100 cases of transient peripartum psychosis—a severe form of postpartum depression—diagnosed every year. McCarthy described the condition as “very rare” and said the disorder was associated with the term “baby dumping.” Mureddu argued transient peripartum psychosis is “not some made-up condition.”
Prosecutors, however, maintained Taylor intended to kill her child and intentionally deceived those closest to her: “That’s not a mental disease or defect, that’s infanticide. We don’t put babies in a trash bag and tie a knot around it,” Scott Hixson said in his closing argument. Hixson argued Taylor believed the newborn baby was an “inconvenience.”
Taylor admitted to wrapping the baby in a trash bag and placing it in the dumpster after giving birth at home while her husband and 16-month-old daughter slept in an adjacent room. Taylor surrendered to authorities after seeing a photo of herself on TV. A receipt found in the trash bag along with the newborn led authorities to a store where they saw Taylor on a surveillance video, reports the Daily Mail.
According to WBTW, Taylor testified she was in denial about being pregnant, claiming she didn't tell her husband about the pregnancy because he was abusive. Jurors were played a 30-minute audio recording from 2015 in which former Horry County Police Detective Jeff Cauble questioned Taylor about her pregnancy hours after she gave birth.
Taylor denied being pregnant or giving birth, claiming she wouldn't have hidden a pregnancy from her husband. “I wouldn’t do this, I’m not that type of person. I wouldn’t do this. I’m a good person,“ Taylor said. Although neighbors described Taylor as ”very pregnant" at the time, Taylor denied the claim.
Taylor's sentencing hearing is scheduled for February 15, but her defense team has asked for a delay so the judge may have more time to review information related to transient peripartum psychosis in an effort to reduce the sentencing, reports WMBF.
Taylor's baby, Trinity, will turn 3 years old this year, reports The Sun News.