People.com reports that an Indiana woman has been sentenced to life in prison for starving her 3-week-old baby girl to death. Ruby Stephens, 26, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder charges and was scheduled for trial in April for the December 2014 murder, according to the Lakeland Ledger.
On December 23, 2014, Stephens and her husband, Roy Stephens, 51, were traveling from Indiana to Florida with their three children for a holiday get-together, says the Ledger. Roy was also convicted of first-degree murder, aggravated manslaughter of a child and aggravated child abuse in the case.
The family checked in to a Comfort Inn during their travels and headed to a Golden Corral for dinner, says the Orlando Sentinel. Upon arriving at the restaurant, Ruby noticed her baby was unresponsive and 911 was called. The baby was taken to the local hospital, where she was pronounced dead. An autopsy ruled the death a homicide, according to the Sentinel.
The baby weighed two pounds less at death than when she was born, according to reports. Prosecutors say the baby was conceived during an affair Ruby had with another man, leading to Roy neglecting the child.
Initially, Ruby told police she nursed the baby every three hours, but the autopsy showed the digestive system was empty, meaning it had been at least six hours since her last feeding, said the Ledger. Roy’s lawyer stated that Ruby accepted full responsibility for her actions, and that she pretended to feed the baby in front of Roy.
Roy was sentenced to life in prison and 30 years for each of the other charges in his case, according to News Chief.
It is unclear where the couple’s two other children are staying, and Ruby’s attorneys couldn’t be reached for comment. Roy’s attorney told People that his appeal is pending.
*Photo credit Polk County Jail