FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – It’s the first case in Lauderdale County the District Attorney’s office has prosecuted involving the death of a stillborn child testing positive for drugs, and it is now moving forward to trial.
In a brief arraignment hearing before Circuit Judge Mike Jones, Rachel Dianne Hanback, 29, and her court appointed attorney entered a plea of not guilty by reason of mental defect.
Hanback is charged with chemical endangerment of a child.
Prosecutors said Hanback’s son was stillborn on May 27, 2012.
Court records indicate an autopsy revealed the baby had methamphetamine and Valium in his system.
Prosecutors in the case said the indictment was handed down because Hanback exposed the child to drugs while still in the womb.
According to district attorney Chris Connolly, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that an unborn child is still considered a child, and is protected by the chemical endangerment law.
Judge Mike Jones ordered a mental evaluation be performed on Hanback, before a trial date is set.
If convicted of chemical endangerment of a child, Rachel Hanback could face up to life in prison.
She remains free from jail on a 50-thousand dollar bond.