GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – A Mesa County teenager accused of killing her newborn baby has pleaded guilty to a charge of child abuse resulting in death.
Eighteen-year-old Cheyenne Corbett entered her plea this morning in a Grand Junction courtroom, where prosecutors dropped the murder charge in exchange for her guilty plea. She now faces 16 to 48 years in prison when she's sentenced on Dec. 14.
Corbett was arrested in late July 2006 with charges of child abuse and first-degree murder after wrapping her newborn daughter in a towel, placing her in the drawer of an entertainment center, and leaving her for dead. The cadaver was found by Corbett's mother hours later.
A public defender previously entered a not guilty plea on Corbett's behalf in February, but she withdrew it in June.
She told investigators at the time that she didn't see the baby girl move, or open her eyes. However, an autopsy revealed the baby was born alive and died from asphyxiation.
As of 2004, Colorado is one of 46 states with a "safe haven" law that protects parents from prosecution if they've placed their unwanted newborn in a "Safe Haven Location." Nebraska is currently working on passing the law in it's state. Corbett could have turned the infant in at a hospital or fire station within 72 hours of birth without fear of prosecution.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.