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Mother Pleads Guilty, Gets Year in Jail for Killing Baby

October 20, 1995

A Burbank woman accused of smothering her 10-day-old baby and then trying to kill herself by jumping onto the Ventura Freeway pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter Thursday and was sentenced to a year in County Jail.

Tani McCollough was also sentenced to three years probation by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Carlos Moreno, and will be required to attend psychiatric counseling for a year, Deputy Dist. Atty. Karen Tandler said.

"It's a terrible case, because I have no doubt that she did smother and kill the baby," Tandler said. "But I believe that the mere fact that she took such a serious step in trying to end her own life shows we're not dealing with a person who's mentally stable."

McCollough, then 31, jumped from an overpass onto the freeway on Nov. 23, minutes after her baby, Colin, died at their Burbank home.

She was not expected to survive her injuries, but recovered after a weeklong coma, only to be charged with murder--even though the coroner's office could not determine whether Colin had been smothered or had died of natural causes.

Her husband of seven years, Jeffrey, was to be the key--albeit reluctant--prosecution witness. At a preliminary hearing in June, he testified that his wife had said she'd thought about suffocating the baby and then killing herself.

Tandler said Tani McCollough now says she cannot remember the events of Nov. 23, and the prosecutor admitted she did not know how a jury would have decided the case.

McCollough's attorney could not be reached for comment.

Los Angeles Municipal Judge Kathleen Kennedy-Powell, who handled the preliminary hearing, called the case "one of the most disturbing" she has ever heard.

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