Mother in Madison County abortion case sentenced to two years in prison
MADISON, Neb. — Jessica Burgess was sentenced to two years in prison for two felonies and a misdemeanor for her part in a Madison County abortion case.
Burgess reached a plea deal and pleaded guilty back in early July at Madison District Court.
Burgess was sentenced for removing and concealing a dead human body, false reporting, and attempting an abortion later than 20 weeks.
Before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, states were not allowed to enforce abortion bans until the point at which a fetus is considered viable outside the womb, at around 24 weeks.
After hearing the defense ask for probation, Judge Johnson denied the probation and said her actions throughout the case played a role.
“Throughout this entire event, you have displayed criminal thinking to the extent that I have not seen," Judge Johnson said.
According to court records, Jessica Burgess and her now 18-year-old daughter, Celeste Burgess, reportedly discussed terminating Celeste's pregnancy via Facebook messages, which were later acquired by law enforcement.
In one of the Facebook messages, now 42-year-old Jessica Burgess, tells her then 17-year-old daughter that she has obtained abortion pills for her and gives her instructions on how to take them to end the pregnancy.
In court documents, the detective said the fetus showed signs of “thermal wounds” and the man told investigators the mother and daughter did burn it. He also wrote that the daughter confirmed in the Facebook exchange with her mother that the two would “burn the evidence afterward.” The detective wrote that, based on medical records, the fetus was more than 23 weeks old.
Burgess later admitted to investigators that she bought the abortion pills “for the purpose of instigating a miscarriage.”
At first, both mother and daughter said they didn’t remember the date when the stillbirth happened, but according to the detective, the daughter later confirmed the date by consulting her Facebook messages. After that he sought the warrant, he said.
Jessica's daughter, Celeste, was sentenced to 90 days in jail on July 20.