NASHVILLE (AP) -- A Nashville woman convicted this summer of first-degree murder in the killing of her 1-year-old daughter is pregnant and married - revelations that came as a surprise even to her own attorney during a sentencing hearing Friday.
The Tennessean reports that Jennifer Hannah is about 11 weeks pregnant and would have been with child when she stood trial in July ( http://bit.ly/q1G9vB ). A jury convicted Hannah of first-degree felony murder, four counts of aggravated child neglect and two counts of giving a controlled substance to a minor by putting prescription drugs in her daughter Ava's milk in 2008.
The murder conviction carries an automatic life sentence. Friday's hearing was scheduled to evaluate how many more years Hannah should serve on the other convictions. Judge Steve Dozier says he will issue a written ruling at a future date.
Prosecutors argued that Hannah's sentence should be enhanced after a bottle of medication was found on he at the conclusion of the trial. Davidson County District Attorney General's Office spokeswoman Susan Niland said those pills show "she is still a present danger to children."
Defense attorney Patrick McNally said knowledge of the pregnancy and marriage should have no bearing on Hannah's sentencing.
"I don't believe either one are evidence or proof of mitigating or enhancing factors," McNally said.
He argues Hannah's sentence should be mitigated by her diminished mental capacity leading up to and at the time of Ava's death.
Information from: The Tennessean, http://www.tennessean.com