Mother accused of dumping newborn in trash takes the stand

A mother of three accused of putting her newborn baby girl in a dumpster at a northeast Austin apartment complex in 2017 testified in her trial Friday.

Althea Johnson took the stand Friday and gave the jury an emotional and conflicting admission which included a denial when asked if she believed she had tried to throw away her baby.

The mother of three said it was a stressful time in her life and that she had just gone through a miscarriage and worked long hours. Johnson told the jury she didn't know she was pregnant and didn't know she had given birth because she had taken a pain killer before going to bed.

She also said she had no memory of dumping the child and she later made up a confession only to have something to tell her daughter when she grows up.

"This is not, this is not me, I love all my kids. I accepted what they told me, I tried to accept responsibility, so I wouldn't be weak,” said Johnson. 

Earlier in the day defense witness Dr. James Wheeler testified about a condition called pregnancy denial. The OB-GYN from Houston said it’s possible for women to go through a full pregnancy and not know it until they went into labor. He also said that postpartum trauma can affect memory. 

In closing Johnson’s defense attorney pointed out there are no witnesses who saw Johnson put the baby in the trash and no fingerprints from Johnson were recovered from the dumpster.

The case was given to the jury at 4:00 p.m. Before deliberations began a recent image of the baby, smiling and appearing in good condition, was shown in court.