Iowa high court orders new trial for woman accused of drowning baby, citing improper testimony

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DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa Supreme Court is ordering a new trial for a woman charged with drowning her newborn baby in a hotel room.

The court ruled Tuesday that Hillary Tyler's second-degree murder conviction was tainted by improper expert testimony.

Tyler gave birth in a Fort Dodge hotel, where workers found a deceased baby the next day in a trash can. She later allegedly confessed that she drowned the baby in the bathtub. A jury found Tyler guilty of second-degree murder, and she was sentenced to 50 years in prison.

The court ruled that jurors shouldn't have heard testimony from a state medical examiner, who ruled the baby drowned based on Tyler's alleged confession and not on any scientific findings.

Tyler's defense argues the baby was stillborn and died immediately after birth.

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