Mom Accused in Killing Reaches Plea

Monday, September 25th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW KENT, Va. (AP) — A woman accused of killing her month-old son by putting him in a microwave oven and turning it on pleaded Monday to involuntary manslaughter.

Elizabeth Renee Otte, 20, could get up to 10 years in prison at sentencing Dec. 4. She originally was charged with first-degree murder, which carries up to life behind bars.

She entered an Alford plea, under which she did not admit guilt but acknowledged that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict her.

According to experts, Otte suffers from epilepsy, and her seizures often are followed by blackouts of up to 50 minutes. Prosecutor C. Linwood Gregory said that given such testimony, a jury might have acquitted Otte.

Her son, Joseph Lewis Martinez, was found dead in 1999, crammed inside the 18-inch-wide microwave in the home Otte shared with the baby's father. According to experts, Joseph probably died after 10 minutes in the oven, when his blood reached 106 degrees.

Otte told authorities at the time that the last thing she remembered was feeding the baby.

She had stopped taking medication when she became pregnant, and the baby's father, Joseph Anthony Martinez, told authorities that she had more than 50 seizures before and after the birth, even dropping the baby one time.