A Utah woman was formally charged Monday with six counts of first-degree murder in the killing of six of her babies over a 10-year period, but she will not face the death penalty if convicted.
Megan Huntsman is accused of killing the infants between 1996 and 2006, which was before Utah made murder a capital offense if the victim was younger than 14, Utah County Atty. Jeff Buhman said outside court after a hearing in the case, the Associated Press reported from Provo.
Authorities allege Huntsman, 39, was the mother of the six infants, but DNA testing is underway to confirm that, as well as to confirm their gender. Cause of death also was not yet known.
Buhman said investigators will have to rely on reports from the medical examiner and a forensic anthropologist, along with Huntsman's statements to police, to determine the cause of death.
The infants were found on April 12 in boxes in Huntsman's garage in Pleasant Grove after her estranged husband, Darren West, discovered one of the bodies while cleaning up. Police found six more bodies. A seventh infant is believed to have been stillborn.
According to AP, Huntsman mostly kept her eyes focused on the ground during her brief court appearance. Her wrists were shackled to her waist, and she was wearing baggy, orange jail pants and a green shirt.
Defense attorney Doug Thompson told reporters after court that he has spoken with Huntsman but did not want to provide details on her state of mind, the AP said. "She seems fine, but I don't really want to get into any of that," he said.
Each of the charges carries a possible sentence of five years to life. Huntsman, who is being held in lieu of $6-million bail, is due back in court on May 19.