A Broward County sent a 19-year-old Iowa mother to prison for 13 years
for killing her newborn by dumping her down a seventh-floor trash chute.
Adopted at 3 days old. Raped at 10. A shameful pregnancy and abortion at 15.
Those were the events that shaped Ashley Truitt's life before she again became pregnant at 17, hid the pregnancy and gave birth in secret in a bathtub on June 2, 2007, during a family vacation in Pompano Beach, Truitt's defense attorney Allison Gilman said.
Truitt pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter of a child. She faced from 13 to 30 years in prison.
Truitt admitted to the secret birth but said she remembered nothing beyond searching for a place where she could safely leave the child, whom she named Julie Ann. Prosecutors said she put the baby in the garbage chute.
"The last thing that I remember is her crying," Truitt said. "My negligence has eaten away at my heart." Tears streaming down her face and hanging upon her chin, Truitt winced at prosecution photos of her infant lying in a rubbish heap.
Truitt's parents, from Solon, Iowa, took turns to plead for leniency.
Her mother, Patricia, said that she was mortified by her daughter's first pregnancy.
"I would never let her forget how disappointed I was in her," she said.
She suspected the second pregnancy, she said, but the more she pressed, "the more she tried to conceal it."
Raymond Truitt, Ashley's father, said that in the year before the family came to Florida, Ashley's grandparents died, he battled prostate cancer and his wife was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
"I believe she probably thought we couldn't handle anything more on our plate," he said.
In a china cabinet at the family's home back in rural Iowa, Julie Ann's remains are now kept in a wooden urn made by Truitt's father. Truitt has asked that her daughter not be buried until she can be there.