A Wichita State University college student was charged with first-degree murder earlier this week, stemming from a 2014 incident in which her newborn infant was found dead in her family home, only a day after Christmas. People reports that Marissa Fields, 19, was arrested on Tuesday and booked into the Johnson County jail, in Olathe, Kansas. She was released shortly after on $100,000 bond. The freshman, who started attending Wichita State last fall, is accused of killing her newborn baby girl and hiding her.
A day after Christmas, Fields’ father noticed a foul smell permeating from the family garage. Upon searching, he found the baby girl, lifeless and rigid. He contacted authorities and informed them that a deceased infant was in his garage, located off of South Millview Road, in Olathe.
When the police arrived, Fields admitted to recently giving birth, although her father had no idea that she was ever pregnant.
Although the case is still new and many details remain unknown, Fields’ attorney, Carl Cornwell, stated that the college student plans to plead “not guilty.”
“She is going to plead not guilty. Say some prayers for her. I’m just now getting the investigating file. I’m going to look at it, talk with the family, calm everything down and take a close look at what’s going on here.”
Fields made the dean’s list honor roll during her spring semester at Wichita State and was planning on becoming a residential assistant on campus at Shocker Hall, according to her attorney. Cornwell also indicated that Fields plans to return to school while awaiting trial. He defended the college student, stating that Fields is still a child herself and wasn’t thinking like a clear-headed adult would.
“When you have kids, they’re just kids. They don’t think like an adult.”
Yet, despite her age, Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe stated this week that there is absolutely no excuse for taking her baby’s life, especially since the state of Kansas offers alternative options to people who aren’t ready for parenthood.
“If you have an unwanted child, you can drop it at a hospital or gas station so that child can be taken care of by someone else.”
Court documents indicate that in addition to first-degree murder, Fields is charged with “aggravated abandonment of a child in connection with the child’s death.” An autopsy confirmed that the baby was born alive but never took her first breath.
Fields will appear in court on August 20 to formally enter her plea on both felony murder and felony abandonment charges.
[Photo Courtesy of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office]