A mother of six pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter Thursday for smothering her newborn son last summer in Rancho Penasquitos.
“This was a newborn baby boy.” Deputy District Attorney Tracey Prior said. “He was hours old when this mother smothered him, taking his life.”
Julie Alison Reynolds, 36, was arrested in August 2008, after police investigators found the baby's body hidden in a backpack in her bedroom closet.
She was staying at her sister's home in Rancho Penasquitos with her six children. Her brother-in-law reported her to police after he and his wife became suspicious of the pregnancy. They asked her if she was pregnant as they saw her growing larger and larger, but she denied it.
Reynolds pleaded guilty at a preliminary hearing Thursday morning at the Downtown County Courthouse.
“This defendant, because she admitted responsibility at such an early stage with remorse, was allowed to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter,” Prior said.
The prosecutor said it was still unclear why Reynolds smothered her baby hours after he was born.
"That's a $60 million question right there," Prior said. "How could anybody take their child's life?"
Reynolds will be sentenced to 11 years in state prison at a hearing July 10.
“Part of the sentence will require she waive her right to any conjugal visits. We don’t want her having any more children while she’s in prison,” Prior said.
Reynolds’ six children range in age from 18-months to 17-years-old and are fathered by three different men. They are currently in child protective custody. The newborn victim was her seventh child by a fourth man.
Prior said Reynolds has a documented history with Child Protective Services in two states other than California.