Oakland County woman to stand trial for allegedly putting newborn in garbage can

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

A 23-year-old Oakland County woman accused of putting her newborn into a trash can shortly after giving birth will stand trial, a Detroit judge ruled Monday.

The woman, Jennifer Kayla Woodard of Highland Township, is accused putting her baby girl into a trash can at the Detroit home of a friend last fall. Woodard was initially charged with assault with intent to murder, child abandonment and second degree child abuse.

At a Monday preliminary exam, 36th District Judge Ronald Giles dismissed the assault with intent to murder charge against Woodward, saying the evidence and testimony did not support the accusation. 

Jennifer Kayla Woodard of Higland Township faces charges of child abandonment and second degree child abuse.

"I don't see assault for attempted murder," Giles said. "If (the baby) had died, that would be different."

Woodard faces up to 10 years behind bars if found guilty for second-degree child abuse. The penalty for child abandonment is the end of parental rights. 

A friend of Woodard's, Clifford Perry, testified Monday that the woman showed up at his door on Sept. 13 and "immediately" gave birth to the newborn in a basement bathroom around 9:51 a.m.

The infant fell into the toilet after Woodard delivered the child, said Perry, who added that he insisted to Woodard that she pull the baby out of the toilet. He said Woodard, whom authorities allege is a drug user, put the baby in a garbage can at the home.

"She walked out of the bathroom and put the baby in the trash," Perry said. " "... I asked if she would come (to the hospital with him), and she said no."

Perry said he found the baby in the trash can at the home and wrapped the newborn in a towel and rushed her to  Grace Sinai Hospital on Detroit's west side, where he dropped the baby off to an unknown man at the hospital's emergency area. He said he then drove back to his house to get Woodard, but she was not there.

36th District Judge Ronald Giles

The newborn was "cold to the touch" when Perry said he got her to the hospital and needed a transfusion because the newborn had lost a large amount of blood. The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office said the condition was due to the baby's umbilical cord not being clamped off.

Woodard's next court date is 9 a.m. March 1 for an arraignment on information in Wayne County Circuit Court.

The baby was placed in the custody of state child welfare authorities. 

bwilliams@detroitnews.com