This week, 20-year-old Amber Craker was found guilty of murdering her newborn daughter and leaving her remains in a trashcan inside her family home in Abilene, Texas.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Craker has been sentenced to life in prison without eligibility of parole. Craker’s lawyer tried to argue that her low IQ made her ineligible to serve a life sentence, KRBC reports, but the objection was overruled.
After the verdict was announced, the judge turned to Craker and asked if there was anything else she wanted to say. She told the courtroom, “I’m sorry for everything I did,” according to KRBC.
— KRBC News (@KRBCnews) January 19, 2016
On January 18, 2016, Craker gave birth to a little girl. But afterward, KTXS reports, she couldn’t stop bleeding.
Craker’s parents rushed her to the hospital when the bleeding wouldn’t stop. The doctor who performed surgery on Craker told the court that he feared she may have “dumped” the baby. Police went to investigate Craker’s home and found the baby’s body in the trash.
A police report published by the Abilene Reporter-News noted that the baby had stab wounds “over the neck and chest” and “small sharp-force injury on the upper left side of the back.”
Her boyfriend, Damian Cate, told the police that he held the baby while Craker stabbed her to death. He said even held the baby for 20 minutes after birth. The couple was arrested the following day.
— FOX 15 Abilene (@FOX15Abilene) May 12, 2017
According to KTAB, Craker told the police that she was alone while giving birth and used a washcloth to mute her screams. She also said that her hand slipped when trying to cut the umbilical cord.
After her arrest, Craker’s lawyer argued she had “disabilities from mental retardation” and could have been “influenced to say things that are not accurate.”
KTXS reports that Craker was brought to a psychiatric facility for evaluation, but was later determined to be competent.
Doctors were unable to determine the baby’s cause of death, which Craker’s lawyer argued could mean the baby was a stillborn. If the baby had been born a stillborn, Craker could not have been convicted of murder.
District Attorney James Hicks told the courtroom that there was reason to believe the baby was born alive. “Baby Ashley’s last few minutes at birth are what got her killed,” he suggested, reported by KTXS. He turned to the court and asked why else would she “ruin her throat.”
Hicks continued that Craker was “pissed off” in the interrogation room and that she “snapped” after her baby was born.
After five hours of deliberations, the jury found the mother guilty of capital murder and tampering with evidence. She was sentenced to life without parole and an additional 19 years for tampering, which will be served concurrently.
Cate has also been charged with murder, injury to a child, and tampering with evidence. In an exclusive interview with KTXS, Cate disputed the police report and said he didn’t realize there was a baby until police showed him the pictures.
He maintains that he had nothing to do with the baby’s death. His trial is set to begin in January.
Watch Kate’s full interview below, via KTXS.