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Utah Mother Accused of Killing Babies Charged with Six Counts of Murder

Rick Bowmer
AP Photo
Megan Huntsman, accused of killing six of her babies and storing their bodies in her garage, appears in court Monday, April 28, 2014, in Provo, Utah.

Prosecutors filed six first-degree murder charges Monday against a Utah woman accused of killing six of her own newborn babies. If convicted, 39-year-old Megan Huntsman of Pleasant Grove would not face the death penalty, but could spend the rest of her life in prison.

According to Pleasant Grove police, Megan Huntsman admitted to suffocating or strangling six of her babies and hiding their bodies in boxes in her garage. Deputy Utah County Attorney Jared Perkins on the prosecution team says they think they know her motive, but are not releasing that information yet.

“Most of the information in this case comes from Megan herself,” Perkins says. “She has stated some of the reasons for why she acted the way she did. We want to corroborate some of those; we want to explore some of the other things that she said, so at this point we’re not discussing that publicly.”

Perkins says Huntsman cannot be charged with a capitol offense and the prosecution cannot seek the death penalty. That’s because the alleged murders would not qualify as aggravated under the law at the time they occurred, between 1996 and 2006.

Investigators believe Huntsman's estranged husband, Darren West, is the father of all six children, though they are awaiting DNA results to confirm that. Authorities say West, who was the first to discover the babies in the garage, claims he did not know about his wife’s pregnancies.

Huntsman is the only suspect in the case and is being held at the Utah County jail on $6 million bail. If convicted, she faces 5 years to life in prison for each of the six counts. She will be back in court again in three weeks to declare whether she wants a preliminary hearing.

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ
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