Jury acquits woman on aggravated murder charge

Jury acquits woman on aggravated murder charge »Play Video
Angelica Swartout

EUGENE, Ore. - A jury of 5 men and 7 women took less than an hour Thursday to find a woman accused of dumping a newborn in the trash not guilty of murder.

Angelica Swartout has been in custody since December 2010 after she told detectives in Springfield she gave birth to a baby boy and dumped his body in the trash in October 2010.

That sparked a frantic search of the landfill.

No remains were ever found.

The first jury to hear the case ended in a hung jury after Swartout testified she had faked the pregnancy and lied to her family and detectives about what happened to the baby.

Swartout made the same defense when prosecutors took the case to court for a second time. That took less than an hour to return a verdict of "not guilty" on a charge of aggravated murder.

The first jury deliberated for 4 days before arriving at 11 jurors in favor of a guilty verdict and one opposed. A guilty verdict must be unanimous.

At least 10 members of the second jury had to agree to "not guilty" in order to reach that verdict.

"She wants to thank her friends and family who supported her through two trials," defense attorny Gordon Mallon said. "Once again, want to thank George Nruce, the one hold out juror from the first trial."

Mallon also said Swartout passed a polygraph test last summer when asked about faking the pregnancy. The defense was not allowed to talk about those results at trial, he said.

The officers to whom Swartout originally confessed killing the newborn - a confession she later testified was a lie - said he had to accept the verdict.

"I'd be lying to you if I didn't say what happened today was disappointing," Sgt. Dave Lewis from the Springfield Police Department said. "But I will say it's our system. I work in it, and I will live with the result."