18-year-old Norfolk woman accused of illegal abortion leading to pregnancy termination found guilty and sentenced

Norfolk, Nebraska – The sentencing of one of three suspects in a Nebraska abortion case brings the matter to court.

According to investigators, a 17-year-old girl took abortion pills in April, torched the fetus, and then buried the remains.

Now 18 years old, the Norfolk adolescent and her mother face felony charges.

Tuesday, the 22-year-old friend who sought to conceal the killing received a bombshell in court.

The state of Nebraska permits abortions up to 20 weeks. According to investigators, the teen was 29 weeks pregnant when she reportedly used medication to cause a miscarriage.

Tuesday, the court heard for the first time about the 22-year-old man named in the case.

Defense argued that he is not the father. In reality, he has special needs and believed he was aiding a buddy by burying the unborn child’s bones.

After being sentenced to nine months of probation on Tuesday, 22-year-old Tanner Barnhill from Norfolk discusses his next steps with his parents in county court.

The sentencing of one of three suspects in a Nebraska abortion case brings the matter to court.

Tanner has a mental impairment, with an IQ between 75 and 80. His counsel stated that he is susceptible to being used due to his desire to fit in and be accepted.

According to investigators, he was upfront and truthful when first approached. He showed them all of the burial sites, and his text communications with the other suspects clarified the chronology.

Judge Donna Taylor seems to recognize that the case against the mother and daughter would not have been filed without Tanner’s level of cooperation.

His attorney, Jason Doele, told the court that his client told the others that “burning the fetus was wrong” and that “everyone has the right to be buried,” and that he has been saving up to pay any fines that may result from this.

The state acknowledged the young man’s lack of malice and negotiated the plea agreement that resulted in a probationary term.

Jessica and Celeste Burgess, ages 18 and their mother, face criminal abortion charges. They must appear in court within the next few weeks.

Both have entered not guilty pleas.

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