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Woman In Failed Self-Abortion Wants Charge Dropped

Posted: 7:12 PM, Oct 17, 2016
Updated: 2016-10-17 20:27:04-04

The woman accused of trying to self-abort her pregnancy wants the charges dropped.

Anna Yocca was first charged by the Grand Jury with attempted first degree murder. The charges have since been downgraded to aggravated assault.

Police arrested 32-year-old Anna Yocca one year ago. She was accused of trying to terminate her six-month pregnancy at home using a coat hanger.

"The injuries sustained by Baby Yocca were very severe," said Kyle Evans with the Murfreesboro Police Department after her arrest last year.

The baby boy was later delivered by C-section alive, but with permanent injuries.

She went before a judge last year via closed-circuit television from the Rutherford County Jail.

"Do you understand the charges against you?” the judge asked her.

“Uhh, vaguely," she said.

Since then, the prosecution has reduced the charge to aggravated assault.

Some have questioned Yocca's mental competency to stand trial, but NewsChannel 5 has learned a psychological evaluation found "there is no indication that Ms. Yocca failed to have sufficient reality contact in regard to the nature and wrongfulness of her accused behavior."

In other words, she wasn't crazy.

NewsChannel 5 legal analyst Nick Leonardo said there are options other than claiming insanity.

"Obviously she is going to have some sort of defense," said Leonardo.

In fact, Yocca's attorney has now filed a motion to dismiss the assault charge, arguing that to do otherwise "makes every pregnant woman vulnerable to arrest and prosecution if she is perceived to have caused or even risked harm to a human embryo or fetu... and that the prosecution is absurd, illogical and unconstitutional."

A judge was expected to decide if the prosecution continues after hearing arguments on the defense motion Tuesday morning.

Yocca's trial was scheduled for next May.