An Upstate mother who abandoned her newborn in a toilet at a Greenville arena last year will not be going to jail.
Jessica Blackham was sentenced to a year of house arrest and three years of probation Wednesday after pleading guilty. Blackham was 24 in February 2011, when prosecutors say she went into labor while watching a circus at the Bi-Lo Center and gave birth to a 6-pound boy. Prosecutors say she then left the child in the toilet and went home with her family.
Greenville Police said two workers at the arena found the boy up to his neck in water while cleaning the women’s bathroom that night. Blackham’s parents told a bond judge last year that their daughter does not remember much about what happened. They also said their daughter has amnesia. At Wednesday’s hearing, Blackham maintained that she does not actually remember giving birth to her child at the arena.
Days after the boy was found, the South Carolina Department of Social Services said a foster family had been lined up for the child. At Wednesday’s hearing, officials said the child had been adopted, and was doing well.
Judge Edward Miller sentenced Blackham to five years in prison, but suspended that to one year of house arrest and three years probation.