Meagan Work, who was arrested after her son Colton Turner was found dead, has plead guilty to tampering with evidence and injury to a child as part of a deal.
Work walked into court Thursday and when she stood before Judge David Wahlberg she told him she had decided to enter a guilty plea. The court room surprise had apparently been on the table for a few days according to defense attorney Darla Davis.
"Last week I started talking to the prosecutors about if we could negotiate, something short of a full blown jury trial,” said Davis.
Davis says the deal with prosecutors allows Work to hold to the claim that she didn't kill her son, Colton, in 2014.
"I think she was relieved because for four years she has felt like that people are saying that she caused Colton's death and that was never true and that bothered her a great deal,” said Davis.
The guilty plea was on two charges, injury to a child and tampering with evidence.
"What she has admitted to is not taking him for medical care and that weighs heavily on her and she has plead guilty to burying his body,” said Davis.
The body of 2-year-old Colton Turner was found in a shallow grave in east Austin. Investigators arrested Work and her boyfriend Michael Turner, who is not Colton's father. In February of 2016 Turner got a plea deal, a 20-year sentence, including the chance for parole as soon as next year. Colton's family at the time said they didn't like the punishment and that it wasn’t enough for the life that was lost.
"We don’t want him out in 20 years, he will still be young, he can still carry on with his life, Colton can’t,” said Diane Battles after the 2016 sentencing of Turner.
District Attorney Margaret Moore said Colton's family was notified about the plea deal with Meagan Work before it went down Thursday morning. The DA stopped short of calling it justice for what was done to the child.
"Well I think it’s a big step towards that. But we will of course have a very rigorous punishment hearing in front of the court,” said Moore.
Dropping the allegation that Work allegedly caused the death of Colton, according to Moore, is not letting her off the hook. A life sentence without the chance for parole is an option.
"It's the same range of punishment, and its just part of getting this thing to a guilty plea,” said Moore.
Sentencing will not be decided by a jury but will be done by Judge Wahlberg. He set the hearing to take place in late November. Prosecutors say they plan to call several witnesses for the sentencing hearing and it could last up to four days.