PROVO — A woman accused of killing six infants and hiding them in the garage of a Pleasant Grove home will wait until at least October before deciding whether she wants to proceed with a hearing on the evidence against her.
Megan Huntsman appeared only briefly in 4th District Court Monday. Her attorney, Anthony Howell, asked that the hearing be continued to allow him time to work with experts on the case, specifically on "medical issues." He said the defense team has received most of the evidence, but at least one expert they are working with cannot begin looking at the case until August.
Huntsman said nothing, appearing blank-faced in a forest green top and orange pants.
Judge Darold McDade set another hearing for Oct. 20. At that time, it is expected that Huntsman will decide whether to waive her right to a preliminary hearing
Prosecutors did not object to the continuance.
"It's always a tension," Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman said. "We want cases resolved expeditiously, but to protect her rights we need to give them time for them to do their job. While we want to get things resolved, it's to the benefit of Ms. Huntsman, it is to the benefit of the victims in this case, if we get a good, clean trial or a plea."
The 39-year-old woman has been charged with six counts of murder, a first-degree felony, in the deaths of the infants who were born between 1996 and 2006. Seven infants were found in the garage of the home at 536 E. 200 North where Huntsman used to live, but one of them was allegedly stillborn.
Police said DNA testing revealed that, in total, there were two boys and five girls. Huntsman told police that she needed money to buy drugs and felt she needed to choose between the babies and the drugs.
According to charging documents, Huntsman either choked or smothered each of the babies immediately after they were born. Prosecutors said state statutes at the time of the deaths prevent them from seeking the death penalty in the case.
Huntsman's then-husband, Darren West, found the body of one baby and reported it to police. He is the father of all seven of the infants who were found and the couple's three living children.
He told police that he did not know about the various pregnancies and didn't even know about two of his living children until they were born at the hospital.
Buhman said they do not currently plan to file any additional charges and said there have been no talks of a plea deal. He said that defense attorneys have not filed a petition for a competency review, so that hasn't been an issue in the case.
"Not yet," Buhman added.