Red Wing woman sentenced to over 27 years for murder of newborn

A Red Wing woman learned her future on Friday after being convicted of abandoning a newborn baby, who was eventually found dead.

Jennifer Lynn Matter, 51, was sentenced to over 27 years (326 months). She has time served for 52 days, according to court documents.

On Jan. 25, Matter accepted a plea deal in which she plead guilty to one count of second-degree murder, according to court records. She was initially charged with two counts of second-degree murder last year in connection to the death of her newborn, who was found dead at a lake in 2003.

Under the terms of the plea deal, in exchange for Matter’s guilty plea, prosecutors dismissed the second murder charge against her and withdrew their motion to seek an aggravated sentence against her.

As a part of the plea deal, court documents say Matter’s sentence would be capped at 326 months, which is just over 27 years.

RELATED: Woman accused of abandoning newborn pleads guilty to murder

During the course of the investigation, Matter admitted to hiding her pregnancy in 2003, and leaving her newborn infant on the shore of Lake Pepin in Frontenac on the night of Dec. 6. She said she didn’t tell anyone about it because she was trying to lay low due to a pending arrest warrant.

The child was found dead with the umbilical cord still attached the following day.

Charging documents also note that a newborn girl who was found dead at a marina along the Mississippi River near Red Wing in 1999 was determined to have also been Matter’s child. However, in accordance with the plea deal, she’s not charged in that child’s death.

Goodhue County Sheriff Marty Kelly released the following statement after the sentencing:

Today marks the day, after a long 24-years, where justice has been served.  Two newborn-babies never had an opportunity to speak, to grow, to learn, to love, and to make an impact in whatever they chose to do.  As a parent, the number one unwritten rule of parenthood is to protect your children at all costs.  The defendant, the mother of these newborn-babies, betrayed their trust.  This betrayal cost two souls from flourishing and a great deal of pain in our community.

Now that the court has spoken, it is important to reflect on how we got here.  Law enforcement, those here with us today and others that have retired, are the reason we are here.  The tenacity to never quit, to work against all odds, to think outside the box, to sacrifice days, nights, weekends so justice could one day be served.  To all of those, as your elected sheriff and community resident, THANK YOU.  These babies can now rest in peace and our community can now begin to the long road to heal. PARABON, gave these children a voice.  This cutting-edge DNA technology is the reason we can reflect today. 

There is no amount of time that the Court can impose on the defendant that will bring back the lives lost. 

We are pleased today that the Court imposed a sentence that is fair, just and impactful.  The defendant must now not only live with her decisions for 27 years, she will have to reflect on her actions while incarcerated.