Prom Mom: Criminal Homicide?
On June 6, 1997, high school senior Melissa Drexler gave birth to a healthy baby boy in the bathroom of the catering hall of her prom. Melissa admitted that after giving birth, she removed the baby from the toilet and cut the umbilical cord, thus separating herself from the baby. She wrapped the baby in a series of garbage bags, then placed the baby into another garbage bag and tied that bag closed. This bag was thrown into a trash can and Melissa returned to the dance floor. The baby’s body was later discovered by a janitor, but efforts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful. The medical examiner’s autopsy revealed that there was air in one of his lungs and blood on one of his feet, indicating possible circulatory function. Answer the following questions:
a. Should Drexler be charged with criminal homicide? Why or why not?
b. What are some possible mitigating and aggravating circumstances in this case that could affect Drexler’s conviction and sentence?
c. What excuse, if any, could Drexler offer for this act?