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Mistrial declared for woman accused in baby death

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) – An Oregon judge declared a mistrial Wednesday after jurors said they were hopelessly deadlocked in the murder trial of a 24-year-old hotel clerk accused of killing her newborn son.

Angelica Swartout of Springfield was accused of smothering the baby in an employee bathroom at the hotel where she worked and putting the remains in a garbage can. Investigators searched the county landfill, but didn’t find any remains.

Swartout testified that her pregnancy was a charade, and told jurors she only confessed to killing an infant to avoid exposing the lie and because she was sleep-deprived and not thinking clearly. Prosecutors charged her with aggravated murder, but didn’t seek the death penalty.

Lane County Circuit Court jurors began deliberations on Feb. 2. Judge Suzanne Chanti said Wednesday that results of a poll of the jury wouldn’t be made public.

Swartout also testified during the trial that she at first believed she was pregnant and was gratified by the attention from her family. But she continued to act as though she were going to have a baby even after receiving a negative pregnancy test.

Jurors saw a photo in which she appeared to be pregnant. But Swartout pushed out her belly on the witness stand to create a similar appearance, and said that’s how she faked the pregnancy.

She said told friends and family that she delivered a stillborn son at a hospital on Oct. 18, 2010, “because I was supposed to be having a kid.” Two of her sisters called police after they tried to retrieve the body from the hospital for a funeral, but found no record of a birth.

Doctors who did pelvic examinations of Swartout gave conflicting opinions on the likelihood that she had given birth.

Chanti set a new trial date of April 16.

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