Mom Sentenced for Microwaving Baby

ByABC News
December 13, 2000, 7:49 PM

N E W   K E N T, Va., Dec. 13 -- A woman was sentenced to five years inprison today for killing her month-old son in a microwave oven.

Elizabeth Renee Otte, 20, wept and clutched a photograph of theinfant.

I love my son. I still love my son and I will always love myson, she said. I can honestly say I cant remember doing thisif I did this.

Otte entered an Alford plea to involuntary manslaughter, meaningshe did not admit guilt but acknowledged there was enough evidenceto convict her in the 1999 death. She was originally charged withfirst-degree murder.

No Memory of KillingOtte has claimed that she has no memory of cramming her son inthe microwave and turning the appliance on. Experts said Ottesuffers from epilepsy and that her seizures often are followed byblackouts of up to 50 minutes.

Lawyers on both sides acknowledged that what happened that nightmight never be known.

Its possible that this childs death was a tragic accident.Ive reflected long and carefully on the evidence, Judge John R.Alderman said in sentencing her to prison, followed by 20 years onprobation.

Joseph Lewis Martinez was found dead in the Lanexa home whereOtte lived with the babys father, Joseph Anthony Martinez, then18. According to experts, Joseph probably died after 10 minutes inthe oven, when his blood reached 106 degrees.

Otte had stopped taking medication when she became pregnant, andMartinez told authorities that she had more than 50 seizures beforeand after the birth, including one time when she dropped the baby.

Ottes lawyer, Stephen Harris, said she had been excited abouthaving the baby.

If she had intended to harm her child she had other options,Harris said. They were living by the river. The river was rightacross the street. There were ways that were more surreptitiousthan placing the baby in the microwave and going to bed.