Bedford County Mother Sentenced For Baby Death

Cecelia Burnette

Bedford County, VA - A Bedford County woman convicted of contributing to the death of her 8-month-old baby has been sentenced to 8 years in prison. And she happens to be pregnant.

Back in March, Cecilia Burnette was found guilty of child abuse resulting in serious injury, after her baby was shaken to death.

Much of the talk in and out of court Thursday, focused on her new baby, a baby that is due in October.

Burnette's attornies confirmed she is four months pregnant, meaning she was pregnant during her trial. We now know she'll still be locked up when this baby is born.

It was a ruling Cecelia Burnette's attornies did not expect.

"I'm very disappointed, I lost the case," said Defense Attorney David Oblon.

It was an eight year prison sentence for a woman who still maintains, it was her ex-boyfriend who really killed her daughter.

"We don't believe that the evidence was sufficient for a reasonable jury to determine that she was guilty of felony child abuse beyond a reasonable doubt," said Oblon.

Burnette's mother testified about her daughter's childhood cancer and a head injury ten years ago that left her mentally impaired.

"The argument was, that this is all some way to get out of her accountability," said Special Prosecutor Mike Doucette.

Family members of baby Marissa's biological father also believe Burnette's new pregnancy is intended to yield sympathy.

"I think it is a ploy that was to try and keep her out of jail," said Mary Beth Sumner, Marissa's Aunt.

"Her getting pregnant, I think in no way was intended to have an effect on this case, either positive or negative. It was a part of life, a pregnancy is always a blessing," said Oblon.

"I think this guy she is with has got to be crazy. And I hope that he gets full custody and can keep this child from getting hurt like my niece. She's finally where she belongs, behind bars. It's been a long road, it's been real hard, but she's where she belongs," said Sumner.

Cecelia Burnette will be given her prenatal care behind bars, and it is taxpayer funded.

Burnette's mother says when the child is born, she and the biological father will seek dual custody.