After two trials and two appeals, the Alberta teen who murdered her newborn son over six years ago has finally received a verdict: three years suspended sentence with probation.
Katrina Effert, now 25, strangled her newborn after secretly giving birth in her parents' basement, and then threw the baby's corpse over a neighbour's fence.
Although she was previously convicted of infanticide on two separate occasions, in 2006 and 2009 respectively, the latest ruling was appealed due to "errors in the jury instructions".
For an infanticide conviction to hold, Effert must have been in found in a "disturbed state" when she killed the baby in 2005. The maximum sentence for infanticide is five years.
The Prosecution argued that the psychiatric evidence was not ironclad, since both so-called experts admitted to having little experience with infanticide and relied on contradictory statements from Effert herself. She had also lied to police at one point, saying she'd given the newborn to her boyfriend.
"I just want to say that I'm sorry for everything that's happened, especially to my family," Effert said, weeping as she addressed the courtroom after years of legal proceedings. "I wish I could take it back, but I can't."
The Defence argued that infanticide cases require support, not prison time. Her lawyer, Peter Royal, maintained that Effert had already lived with the case, and all the incumbent publicity, for years and would always be haunted by her actions.
"This is, in many respects, a very fine young woman who went through a very tragic event." He went on to defend her character, saying she now "holds a steady job and attends church regularly".
Do you agree with her lawyer, or feel that murder is murder and that Effert deserves a tougher sentence, regardless of her troubled state of mind at the time?