Full video of sentencing below

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Alexis Avila appeared in court to be sentenced on Monday, May 1, 2023, for throwing her baby into a Hobbs dumpster in January 2022. Avila has been sentenced to 16 years after a jury found her guilty of child abuse resulting in great bodily harm and attempted first-degree murder.

Judge William Shoobridge sentenced Avila to 16 years with two years of parole for abuse of a child resulting in great bodily harm. Avila will get credit for 475 days served. The judge also ordered her to also take a course on parenting skills, along with cognitive behavioral therapy while in prison.

Avila faced a minimum of 12 years in prison and a maximum of 18 years. Avila put her newborn baby in a trash bag, then threw the bag in a dumpster. It was all caught on video and, according to prosecutors, that was the key to the conviction. The baby was found alive by three people who were digging through the dumpster. He survived his injuries and is now in the care of other relatives.

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The prosecution asked for the maximum sentence to be given to Avila, emphasizing the point that Avila’s child is only alive today due to the actions of the good Samaritans who found and rescued him. During the sentencing, the prosecution called forward the child’s father, Stephen Astorga. “If it weren’t for those three angels that evening, we would be here for different reasons,” said Astorga.

The defense asked the court to show leniency to Avila and deliver the lowest possible sentencing. They asked the judge to consider Avila’s age, her lack of criminal history, her obedience to the court process, and the status of her mental health.

The defense called Jack Hancock, a licensed clinical social worker who has worked with Avila and her mother; he vouched for Avila’s “persistent mental health issues.” They also called Avila’s mother to the stand who said, “This is not an action she would have taken if she would have been in her right state of mind.”

Avila then took the stand herself, thanking the three good Samaritans who found her child and the healthcare workers that attended to the newborn. “I still do not understand how I did that,” said Avila, “but I am truly sorry.”

The judge stated that the crime was indeed a serious violent offense, and explained that the most Avila can get back for good behavior is four days per month. Judge Shoobridge said, “To toss one’s own child into a dumpster…is something that is an unforgivable event by any mother.”

The judge expressed that the time spent between Avila tossing the baby into the dumpster and deciding to do anything about it indicates that she had an opportunity to correct the crime, but did not. Judge Shoobridge also emphasized that without the “miracle” of the dumpster divers who found the baby, Avila would be facing murder charges.

The judge stated that the mitigating factors in his decision to knock the sentence from 18 to 16 years were Avila’s young age and her undiagnosed mental illnesses. Avila’s lack of prior record also had strong significance in his decision. “You’ve given yourself a life sentence of knowing what you did with your child,” said Judge Shoobridge.

Following the sentencing, Avila’s attorney released the statement below:

From the beginning, Alexis knew she would have to take accountability and serve time in prison as a punishment for her actions. What we had hoped was prosecutors would ignore the political and media attention on the case and offer a plea that would recognize that Alexis was barely 18 at the time this happened and that she is not cold-blooded but in need of mental health treatment. Now Alexis will be about 34 years old when she gets out of prison. We’re trying to work with the prison to make sure she has access to therapy and education while incarcerated, so that when she gets out she can have a meaningful life.

Ibukun Adepoju, Alexis Avila’s attorney

The prosecution, including District Attorney Dianna Luce, Attorney General Deputy Director of Prosecutions Mark Probasco, and Assistant Attorney General Alyssa Cervantes, released the following statement:

We are thankful that the Court found that this especially heinous crime was a serious violent offense and that the defendant will receive a just punishment for committing this crime against an innocent newborn. This sentence is a warning to all who would try to kill innocent children that you will be held accountable.

-District Attorney Dianna Luce