About 3 1/2 years ago when she was not yet 18, Whitley Evenson admitted she suffocated her 6-week-old infant son to death, placing her hand over his mouth.
Evenson, now 21, faces up to seven years in prison after she pleaded guilty Monday morning to involuntary manslaughter. She had been scheduled to go on trial at the Eastern Jackson County Courthouse, facing charges of second-degree murder and child endangerment.
As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors dropped the second charge. Evenson is scheduled to be sentenced April 23 by Circuit Judge Marco Roldan.
With jury selection set to begin Monday, Evenson avoided a trial and admitted that she smothered her son. She said she now takes three medications for a variety of mental health ailments – depression, anxiety, mood disorder and PTSD – as she clearly understood and answered all of Roldan's questions during Monday's court session. She also lauded the help she received from her attorney, public defender Paige Bremner.
According to court documents, after her son died in on Sept. 16, 2015, Evenson initially told police she had awakened a few hours after feeding and changing the baby's diaper at her West Short Avenue home, only to find him still and not breathing.
Later, police received an audio recording from a man who believed Evenson was lying and got her to admit her true actions. She then admitted to police that she placed her hand over his mouth, though she knew it was wrong, and told police she thought her son was sleeping.
Evenson's trial was rescheduled several times – the first time after she skipped a pre-trial hearing, turned fugitive and ultimately was captured by U.S. Marshals in western Idaho – and she has received and passed a mental examination.