Woman who tried to self-abort won't face murder

Posted at 4:47 PM, Feb 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-29 17:55:33-05

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) -- A Tennessee woman accused of trying to end her pregnancy with a coat hanger will not face attempted murder charges, her attorney said Monday.

Anna Yocca was charged with attempted first-degree murder when she was arrested in Murfreesboro in December.

According to police, Yocca filled a bathtub with water and attempted to self-abort last September. After she began bleeding, her boyfriend took her to a hospital where doctors delivered a 24-week-old, 1.5-pound boy. Doctors said the child will need medical support for the rest of his life because of the injuries he sustained. He is in state custody.

Public Defender Gerald Melton had asked the judge to dismiss the charge against Yocca, arguing that state law doesn't allow a pregnant woman to be charged with murdering her own fetus.

In court on Monday, Melton said the prosecutor in the case has agreed to bring a new indictment against Yocca before the grand jury next week. Melton told reporters outside the courtroom he anticipates the new charge will be aggravated assault.

"We're now in more realistic legal territory," Melton said.

Assistant District Attorney General Hugh Ammerman said he does not want to comment on the charges until after the grand jury meeting.

Melton said Yocca will have a psychiatric evaluation.

She is currently being held on a $200,000 bond, but he said the new indictment should carry a substantially lower bond.

He said he will be discussing her bond and release with the district attorney's office.

In the meantime, he said, "I see her every week. I think she's doing all right."