Woman who killed baby as teen gets lighter sentence

Melisa McManus (Lancaster County District Attorney's Office)

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – A prison inmate who was 16 years old when she killed her newborn baby has been given a lesser sentence and will be eligible for a parole hearing next June.

Melisa Ann McManus, now 41, was re-sentenced Thursday in Lancaster County Court to 25 years to life on her first-degree murder conviction, the district attorney’s office said.

McManus was staying with her grandmother in Martic Township when police say she gave birth to a healthy baby boy and suffocated it. The newborn’s body, wrapped in trash bags, was found on the banks of the Susquehanna River near the Holtwood Dam in May 1993.

McManus was convicted at a non-jury trial in 1994 and sentenced to life in prison.

In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled mandatory life terms given to McManus and others who killed as juveniles are cruel and unusual punishment. McManus accepted a plea agreement on her re-sentencing.

Her lawyer said McManus intends to live in a Williamsport halfway house after she’s released.

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