A Maryland woman convicted of suffocating her newborn baby boy in a Ziploc bag was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Friday.
A jury agreed that Moira Akers, 41, was guilty of second-degree murder and first-degree child abuse in April of this year. She was facing life in prison. Howard County Circuit Court Judge Timothy J. McCrone sentenced her to a slightly lesser time behind bars.
“This was an extraordinarily difficult case from beginning to end,” Howard County State’s Attorney Rich Gibson told Law&Crime. “What we want people to remember is that Baby Akers’ life, no matter how brief, mattered. I’m proud of the investigative efforts of our local police department and the dedicated prosecution of our attorneys who were able to give this innocent newborn a voice and some justice.”
The underlying incident was the birth of the child in November 2018.
After the unnamed boy was born, Akers called for medical attention and was taken to a nearby hospital. But she apparently intended on keeping the birth a secret – at least until she was confronted about her state of health by medical staff at Howard County General.
Police were called to the hospital soon thereafter.
A welfare check ensued. And then a murder investigation.
“While being transported to the hospital, Akers did not disclose the birth of her newborn to Howard County Fire & EMS personnel who responded to treat her,” the State’s Attorney’s Office previously said in a press release. “Through investigation, it was determined that Akers had recently given birth inside her home. Investigators responded to the house to conduct a check on welfare and located a deceased, male newborn in a zipped plastic bag under a blanket in a closet with the door shut. Akers, when confronted with how the baby was found at that time, then responded that the baby was stillborn.”
An autopsy was conducted on Nov. 2, 2018.
And the boy was not, in fact, stillborn, a report by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined in March 2019. Rather, the boy was a “healthy, full-term baby and alive at birth,” prosecutors said. The autopsy determined the child had died in the manner of homicide; his death was caused by asphyxiation and exposure.
According to Baltimore CBS affiliate WJZ-TV, law enforcement claimed to have uncovered evidence that Akers conducted searches on the internet for how to terminate a pregnancy.
During trial, the condemned woman maintained that her child was never alive. Jurors, however, did not buy that narrative.
Gibson, in comments released when Akers was convicted, remarked upon the details of the case.
“This was truly one of the most difficult cases my office has ever had to prosecute because we had the burden of proving the baby was born alive,” he said. “Thanks to the great work of HCPD detectives, our prosecutors, the Office of Chief Medical Examiner and other experts, we were able to prove to a jury that the egregious and unconscionable actions of Ms. Akers ultimately led to the murder of her own child.”
The case was prosecuted by Special Victims Unit Chief Mary V. Murphy and Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Jennifer W. Ritter, the State’s Attorney’s Office said in a recent press release.
[image via Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office]
Editor’s note: this story has been amended post-publication to include an additional quote.
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