Woman enters Alford plea to murder of 4-year-old

Woman enters Alford plea to murder of 4-year-old

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - A woman accused of murdering a four-year-old has entered an Alford plea on Thursday.

Bridgette White is accused of killing four-year-old Aaliyah Smith in November.

Prosecutors said Aaliyah suffered blunt-force injuries and malnourishment.

White was in charge of taking care of Aaliyah at the time of her death.

"An Alford guilty plea means that you understand that based upon the evidence the state has provided through discovery, that there is a chance that you're going to be convicted of the most serious offenses at trial," Assistant Lucas County Prosecutor Frank Spryszak. "However you're still maintaining your innocence."

White pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated murder and child endangerment. By her taking the Alford plea, White three additional charges against her dropped.

"In an effort to save people having to view a significant amount of evidence during a trial proceeding, we felt it was appropriate to dismiss a couple of the counts," Spryszak said.

Throughout the proceedings, Judge Ruth Ann Franks repeatedly asked White if she was okay with entering the Alford plead and the possibility she would spend the rest of her life in prison. White simply responded 'Yes ma'am."

White will likely be sentenced to life in prison, however she may avoid life without the possibility of parole. Because White took an Alford plea, the state cannot recommend a sentence to the judge.

White will be sentenced on July 28.

It was originally reported that White pleaded guilty to the crime. Instead, she entered an Alford plea, which means she maintains her innocence but believes the evidence against her would find her guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. 

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