EVERETT, Wash. - A teenage mom now convicted of leaving her newborn son to die in a trash compactor may be able to regain custody someday.
Samantha Houston sobbed during court proceedings Monday as a judge sentenced her to six months in jail for the March, 2016 crime.
“I wish I could take back what happened,” Houston said through tears. “What happened to him must be the worst possible thing that could have happened to a newborn. I wish I could take it back.”
The child was seconds from being crushed when people living at an apartment complex heard him crying and jumped in to search.
Houston has been allowed to have weekly supervised visits with her child granted by a special Dependency Court and with approval of workers from the Department of Social and Health Services.
In handing down the sentence, the judge said one day Houston is “on the track to” to gain custody of the child if she continues to follow all court instructions.
He cited recent reports by DSHS.
However, the prosecutor strongly objected to the idea.
She wanted the judge to issue a no contact order that would prevent Houston from seeing her child after she gets out of jail in six months.
“It should not be ignored the heinousness of this crime,” the prosecutor said.
“All of this is: ‘Oh this is a mistake and she’s a good kid.’ It wasn’t just a mistake. A mistake is forgetting the diaper bag. This is throwing a baby away with the trash.”
But the judge said he would leave custody up to the Dependency Court and would not grant the no contact order.
Washington state law gives dependency courts broad range to decide custody issues with the “best interests of the child” at the forefront of the decision-making process.
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