BARTOW, Fla. - The young teen who admitted to choking her newborn baby to death will spend at least a year and a half in a juvenile detention facility.
In a deal with prosecutors, Cassidy Goodson pleaded no contest to manslaughter. The state originally charged her with first-degree murder and child abuse.
"It's being put in your hands to move forward with your life," Judge Donald Jacobsen told the now 15-year-old Goodson.
By most accounts, the teen is getting a second chance. If convicted as originally charged, she could have spent the majority of her life in prison.
"It's a horrible, horrible offense, but the circumstances of how it occurred, I think, cause me not to believe that it was premeditated in any way," the Judge said.
From the start, Goodson has been very forthcoming about what happened.
In a video for investigators, she even re-enacted exactly how she choked her baby after giving birth in the bathroom.
She said she killed the boy because she did not want to disappoint her parents who didn't know she was pregnant.
On Wednesday in court, both sides seemed satisfied with the plea deal.
"Many of the members of our office who have been doing this for a very long time, have put a lot of work into this, and believe this is the appropriate disposition," said Assistant State Attorney John Aguero. "And we want to wish her good luck."
Defense Attorney Howardene Garrett said it's pretty rare for the state attorney to wish one of her clients good luck at the end of a case.
"Everybody cared about a young girl who had never been in any trouble before in her life and has a tremendous amount of potential and no one wanted to throw that potential away," she told reporters after the hearing.
Several members of her family attended the plea hearing, but would not speak with the media.
After Goodson spends a year and a half in a juvenile detention facility, she will go back in front of a judge.
If the judge feels she has followed all the rules and did everything she could to get her life in order, he can release her and she would likely go on probation.
On the other extreme, if she fails to follow the rules, the judge can also strip away the juvenile sentence and impose an adult sentence which includes up to 15 years in prison.
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