Conviction overturned for woman accused in her baby's death
MILLER COUNTY - An appeals court has overturned the involuntary manslaughter conviction of a woman accused of "recklessly" causing the death of her infant girl.
Emily Usnick was initially charged with second-degree murder by the Miller County Prosecutor’s Office in 2012, three years after her daughter was found in the trunk of a car.
The jury found her responsible for the death of her newborn during an at-home birth that was not medically unattended.
Prosecutors had argued Usnick was guilty because of these actions: "Giving birth to said child unattended and failing to secure assistance and medical attention for said child following birth and by enclosing said child in a plastic bag and container."
Usnick's appeal contended "the State failed to present sufficient evidence from which a jury could determine that Usnick either purposefully or recklessly caused the death."
During the original case, the appeal said, state experts testified only that having a medical professional present at the time of delivery would have made it possible for the baby to be resuscitated.
The state failed to present evidence that the child could have survived if medical assistance was immediately summoned following the birth, the appeal said.