Lindsay Johnson faces charges of first-degree murder and child endangerment

By Jeff Truesdell
March 03, 2017 02:08 PM
Lindsay Johnson
Rick Danzl/The News-Gazette via AP

A former University of Illinois student who allegedly suffocated her newborn son shortly after giving birth to him in a dormitory bathroom announced she would plead guilty in connection with the case, PEOPLE confirms.

But Lindsay Johnson faces three criminal charges — including first-degree murder — and it was not immediately clear which of the charges the guilty plea covers.

Johnson is due back in court on April 7. “We’re not sharing any details about the plea until then,” one of her defense attorneys, Evan Bruno, tells PEOPLE.

A spokesman for the Champaign County State’s Attorney’s Office also confirmed that no details about Johnson’s plea will be made public until that time.

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Johnson, then a 20-year-old sophomore from Monee, Illinois, was charged last April with first-degree murder, concealment of a homicide death, and child endangerment after police said she gave birth March 13 in her campus dormitory’s bathroom.

Police told PEOPLE they first responded to calls from fellow students who reported hearing groans and moans coming from the bathroom. Johnson initially told investigating officers who questioned her that she was suffering from a stomach flu, police said.

But after a dormitory resident reported hearing a baby’s cries, officers responded and found blood on the bathroom’s tiled floor, but Johnson allegedly had left the scene, police said.

Johnson was allegedly subsequently found walking on campus with a deceased newborn in her backpack, and told officers the child was stillborn, police said.

Later she allegedly admitted that the child had been born alive and that she used a towel in an effort to silence him.

She allegedly claimed to police that she’d been unaware she was pregnant. But police alleged that a forensic analysis of her phone “shows a history going back to September 2015 of searches made for information on pregnancy, pregnancy symptoms, miscarriage, home abortions, and how to manage physical signs of pregnancy after the loss of a baby,” according to a police statement.

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Johnson posted $75,000 bond on the day she was arraigned, and has been free since April 12, reports the News-Gazette.

If convicted of first-degree murder, she faces a prison term of 20 to 60 years. She could face from two to 10 years in prison for child endangerment, and two to five years for concealment of a homicidal death.