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Attorney General Marty Jackley

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Martin Woman Sentenced in Dead Baby Case

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE :      Friday, February 03, 2012
CONTACT:   Sara Rabern,  (605) 773-3215 

Martin Woman Sentenced in Dead Baby Case

 PIERRE, S.D.  – Attorney General Marty Jackley and Bennett County States Attorney Gay Tollifson announced today that Tera E. Gilger, 23, Martin, was sentenced to serve a total of 20 years in the State Penitentiary on one count of second degree manslaughter and one count of desertion of a child, both class 4 felonies. She was sentenced to the maximum 10 years on each count with time to be served consecutively.

Charges stemmed from Gilger knowing of her pregnancy since December 2009, but denied the pregnancy  to friends, family members and co-workers.  She did not seek prenatal care or assistance during the delivery.  The newborn baby boy, Rudy Jay Gilger, was a full-term healthy infant.  Gilger delivered the baby boy on July 23, 2010, at home, alone in her bathroom, then placed a towel over him, wrapped him in a sweatshirt and hid him in a laundry basket, where he was later found deceased by Gilger’s boyfriend.  

Designed to further protect children, the Attorney General has proposed Senate Bill 43, which is an Act that would criminalize the failure to report the death or disappearance of a child modeled after the Caylee Anthony legislation.  Specifically, a child caretaker who knowingly fails to notify law enforcement within 48 hours of learning that a child less than 13 years of age is missing would be guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor.  Any caretaker who knowingly fails to notify law enforcement within 6 hours of learning of the death of a minor child would be guilty of a class 5 felony.

SB 43 was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 6-1 vote and approved by the full Senate on a 30-3 vote.  The bill has now been referred to the House Judiciary Committee for their consideration.