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South Dakota woman sentenced in 1981 death of infant son

Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 3:16 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) -- A South Dakota judge has sentenced a woman to 10 years in the state prison system for her infant son’s 1981 death that went unsolved for decades.

Judge Bradley Zell called the sentencing of 60-year-old Theresa Bentaas a difficult decision. He says it was not clear whether her son died from complications during birth or abandonment in the South Dakota cold. Zell suspended nine years of the sentence, meaning Bentaas will likely spend two months in state prison.

Bentaas had entered an “Alford plea” to a first-degree manslaughter charge, meaning that she maintained her innocence but agreed to be sentenced as convicted guilty

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