Megan Martzen agrees to a plea deal Thursday morning that would result in probation but no more jail time. She pled no contest to involuntary manslaughter for the 2009 death of 17-month-old Ella VanLeeuwen. The move means she'll never again have to face charges of murder or child abuse resulting in death. Last month a jury couldn't come to a verdict in her case.
Martzen chocked back tears as she addressed media outside the courtroom, only saying she looks forward to telling her full story in the future. Her attorney Jeff Hammerschmidt believes the plea deal was the best outcome for Martzen because now she can move forward with her life.
"If we had simply obtained a dismissal, at any point in the future, under the statute of limitations on the first two charges, this could have been filed against her at any time for the rest of her life. She would have had that hanging over her. This puts closure to it and the plea reflects that it was an accident," said Hammerschmidt, a defense attorney.
During the trial, the defense said Ella's death was an accident and the result of pre-existing injuries. Martzen said Ella fell off the bed and stopped breathing. She died later at the hospital.
"I look forward to sharing my story with others so it doesn't happen to anyone else," said Martzen.
Sentencing is scheduled for April 30th. The judge will decide how long Martzen will be on probation.