Mother Sentenced to 15 Years for Killing Infant

6:02 PM, Jun 24, 2010   |    comments
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Joanne Tucker has been in the Houston County jail since the incident, according to White. She was sentenced Thursday by Judge Edward Lukemire. A Houston County judge sentenced the mother who killed her infant daughter today to 15 years in prison with three years probation.

On Thursday, Joanne Tucker pleaded guilty but mentally ill to the reduced charges of involuntary manslaughter, assault and cruelty to children.

In November 2008, she was charged murder, aggravated assault and cruelty to children in the death of her infant daughter Katie.

Last week, public defender Nicholas White said that she suffered from postpartum depression at the time.

 He brought in a forensic psychiatrist, Deepti Bhasin, who testified about Tucker's mental state when Katie died.

Bhasin said Tucker was hearing voices and felt depressed.   

"With all three of her children she suffered with postpartum depression and that each time it got worse," said White.

Warner Robins police said they were dispatched to Tucker's home because the baby was unresponsive. The child was dead when officers arrived, according to police.

An autopsy later revealed that Katie died from a cranial cerebral trauma -- a severe blow to the head.

She was arrested on Nov. 14, 2008, five days after her daughter died.

White says Tucker didn't know her daughter died at first.

He says after Tucker spanked and beat her daughter she went into another room and after a while the child stopped crying.  He says Tucker thought her daughter had gone to sleep and she did the same.

According to White, Tucker's father woke her the next day saying the child was not responding and they called 911.

He says Tucker tried to cut her wrists when she found out her daughter had died. 

"I don't say that to try to garner sympathy for her, but to impress how much that horror was affecting her she realized what she had done she realized what had happened," said White.


Tucker has two other children, now in foster care.  White says according to Tucker's mother the state is looking to cut Tucker's parental rights with her other children.

"No amount of going to bring that child back and so whether she spends the rest of her life in jail, it's not going to bring that child back, but that being said it's just a horrible case. It's a horrible situation,"  said Houston County District Attorney Jason Ashford.



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