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Jessica avoided a trial by pleading guilty to seven felonies including involuntary manslaughter, child endangerment and gross abuse of a corpse. Her ex-boyfriend, Tom, also pled guilty to the charges of gross abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and obstruction of justice. On February 8, 2006, Judge Edward Zaleski sentenced Jessica to six years in prison and Tom to two years in prison.

Judge Zaleski says he decided on Jessica's sentence for involuntary manslaughter—which was less than she would have gotten for first-degree murder—because of the coroner's inability to prove a cause of death. "It's my indication that the stab wound itself did not cause the death of the child. So, therefore, the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter," he says.

He asked his family, including his then 14-year-old granddaughter, to sit in his courtroom when he handed down his sentence. "I felt it very important to have my children and granddaughter there to teach them some of life's important decisions on what could happen in a tragedy. And let them learn and perhaps pass it on to other children," Judge Zaleski says.
FROM: Why 15-Year-Old Jessica Coleman Killed Her Baby
Published on November 03, 2006


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