The Iowa Court of Appeals has ordered a new trial for an Oklahoma woman convicted of killing her newborn baby in Iowa. Fort Dodge Police discovered a newborn baby boy in a trash can after being alerted by hotel staff of blood in a room where Hillary Tyler had stayed in September of 2011.
Tyler first told police the baby was born dead, and then in a later taped interview she said she drowned the child in the bathtub. An Associate State Medical Examiner testified the cause of baby’s death was drowning and said he had watched Tyler’s video confession before making that conclusion.
Tyler was charged with first-degree murder and convicted of second-degree murder. She appealed the conviction saying her statements about the baby’s death were coerced by investigators and the medical examiner’s opinion based on the statements should not have been allowed.
The Appeals Court says the medical examiner admitted he could not medically or scientifically determine when the baby died without the statements made by Tyler. The court ruled the medical examiner’s opinion on the infant’s cause and manner of death should have been excluded, and the district court abused its discretion in allowing the opinion into evidence. The court overturned the conviction and ordered a new trial.
Here’s the complete ruling: Tyler murder ruling PDF