AP NEWS

Mom accused of trying to kill herself and baby pleads guilty

September 20, 2019

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A Sioux Falls woman accused of trying to kill herself and her baby by deliberately crashing her car may avoid any time in jail under the terms of her plea agreement with prosecutors.

Julia Alzoubaidi, 35, pleaded guilty Thursday to felony abuse or cruelty to a minor, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine. Alzoubaidi had been charged with attempted murder but was allowed to plead guilty to the lesser charge under a deal in which prosecutors agreed to recommend a sentence of probation and suspended prison time.

Alzoubaidi will learn during her sentencing in November whether the judge will go along with terms of the agreement. Defense attorney Michael Butler filed a motion in July stating that Alzoubaidi’s intended to plead not guilty by reason of insanity and offer expert testimony before her trial, but Alzoubaidi instead agreed to the plea deal.

Butler said Thursday that he intends to file with the court an expert’s evaluation of Alzoubaidi’s mental health which says she was “psychotically depressed” when she thought she had to take the life of her then-6-month-old child and kill herself. She suffered from a mental condition that “deprived her of reason” but she has since recovered, Butler said.

According to court documents, Alzoubaidi, a psychologist, thought the child had a detachment disorder and that she was an unfit mother, according to the Argus Leader .

Alzoubaidi was charged in October 2018 after South Dakota Highway Patrol troopers responded to a crash near the Big Sioux River along Interstate 229. They found Alzoubaidi face down in the water and her baby near the bank. Both survived and were taken to Avera McKennan Hospital for treatment.

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Information from: Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com