An 18-year-old from Corona and his girlfriend who killed their newborn daughter and dumped her remains near Interstate 15 both pleaded guilty Tuesday to murder.
Joshua Tyler Benson and Shawna Joelle Andritch, 23, admitted during a status hearing at the Riverside Hall of Justice to taking the life of the infant, known only as “Baby Jane.”
Under the plea agreement with the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, Benson pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, while Andritch confessed to a second-degree murder charge. He’s facing 25 years to life in state prison, and she’s facing 15 years to life when they are sentenced by Superior Court Judge David Gunn on Oct. 18.
Each is being held without bail at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside.
The pair were arrested in December for the killing five months earlier.
Corona police investigators credited tips from the public following Baby Jane’s Dec. 6 burial at Sunnyslope Cemetery with providing the necessary clues to crack the case.
The dead infant was discovered by a landscaper in a cardboard box on the afternoon of July 27, 2018, near Interstate 15 and Cajalco Road. She was wrapped in a men’s T-shirt — which Benson later admitted was his — and had a blanket and stuffed animal with her, prosecutors said, adding that afterbirth was still on the baby’s skin.
Coroner’s officials could never confirm a specific cause of death. However, they did verify that she was not stillborn, surviving birth and killed sometime immediately afterward, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
“Further investigation revealed that the (defendants) had intended to kill the baby from the beginning … succeeding and leaving (her) in the box under the freeway,” according to an agency statement.
The case triggered community outrage, and police turned to the public for assistance identifying the parents, but few clues were forthcoming last summer.
Public safety officials raised funds to pay for Baby Jane Doe’s burial, which generated additional publicity about the case, culminating in the identification of the defendants as the perpetrators.
Andritch has no documented prior felony or misdemeanor convictions. No information was available concerning Benson, who was a juvenile at the time of the murder.
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