Press Release: People v. Webb, Hannah Jo, 3/27/09
March 27, 2009
Bradford R. Fenocchio
PLACER COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY
10810 Justice Center Drive, Suite 240
Roseville, California 95678
For Immediate Release
Date March 27, 2009
Public information Officer
Acting Assistant District Attorney
A 26-year-old Oregon woman was sentenced to two months in jail by a Placer County judge today in the 2007 case in which a deceased newborn baby or a fetus was found by a worker sorting through trash for recyling items at the Materials Recovery Facility near Roseville.
Hannah Jo Webb was also placed on three years probation by Superior Court Judge Mark S. Curry and was ordered to complete nine months of counseling.
In November, Webb, a former sixth-grade teacher in Oregon, entered a plea of no contest to a misdemeanor count of illegally disposing of fetal remains, which carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail.
She contended to authorities that she did not know she was pregnant and that the baby was stillborn when delivered on July 23, 2007, as she stayed at the apartment of friends in Roseville, according to Placer Deputy District Attorney Dan Wesp.
She said she was alone in the apartment when the child was born and placed the body in a trash bag and then in a Dumpster, Wesp said.
Before imposing sentence, Curry said, “This is a shocking case to the court.”
He said that if there had been any evidence that Webb had a role in causing the baby’s death, the woman might be facing a different charge.
“It would be murder,” the judge said.
The child’s remains were examined by forensics experts with the California Department of Justice, but they were unable to conclude whether the baby was stillborn nor could they determine what caused its death, Wesp said.
Webb’s attorney, Peter Tiemann, asked the court for leniency, saying the woman had been a positive role model in her hometown of Pendleton, Ore., and that she realizes she made an error in judgment.
He urged no jail time for her, asking Curry to sentence her instead to community service.
“She’s already received a great degree of punishment,” Tiemann said. “She’s been devastated. She’s had to move from her small hometown. People aren’t always very understanding.”