Mother on trial for abandoning newborn in dumpster

Showing little emotion, Althea Johnson entered court Tuesday charged with abandoning and endangering her new born baby. “She knew the baby was alive, she saw her eyes open,” said prosecutor Kathleen Morgan.

In opening statements, prosecutor Kathleen Morgan told the jury, that Johnson - on a cold October morning in 2017-  made a conscious decision to get rid of her baby. It happened at a northeast Austin apartment complex, the baby was found in a dumpster.

“Threw her away with last night’s pizza boxes,” said Morgan.

An emotionally distraught Dwayne Bouie - the man who found the baby- was the first to testify.  

Bouie explained that he roams the city looking in dumpsters for things of value. He cried recalling for the jury the moment he realized what he thought was a toy doll was actually a baby girl.

About that time, a woman and her daughter were walking out of the apartments.

Teressa Reese was approached by Bouie who had asked for help as he called 911. “He has a good heart, he has a good heart, he is a hero and I told him that day, I said you saved that baby’s life, you know that, you saved this baby’s life,” said Reese.

Reese also cried as she testified about the frantic moments that followed the discovery.. “This has been one of the most difficult, traumatic experiences of my life, I don’t think you could ever put that behind you, but at the same time where I get the peace of mind is knowing she is ok,” said Reese.

Austin fireman Richard Huizar was one of the first responders on the scene. He testified about how he used a ladder to get a good look inside the trash filled dumpster. "That’s a horrible way to start your life,” said Huizar.

The baby’s body, according to Huizar,  was coverd with hot sauce and he initially thought she was dead ... Until she took a short breath. “To see that baby try to take a breath makes us feel we can do something, we can help this little girl’s life and we can try to make the situation better,” said Huizar.

Althea Johnson cried during much of the testimony. 

Earlier, her attorney told the jury that Johnson, who is a mother of three, was in an abusive relationship. Attorney Krista Chacona also said Johnson worked long hours and claims the birth of the child was a surprise. “I’m going to repeat that, because Althea Johnson unexpectedly give birth, because she did not know she was pregnant, and ladies I know that’s hard to believe,” said Chacona.

The jury was also told Johnson dosent remember going to the dumpster.

Or why she put the baby in it.



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