Fort Berthold woman pleads guilty to murder

A woman from the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota pleaded guilty on Monday to murdering her infant son.

Dana Deegan, 34, gave birth to a boy on October 20, 1998. She admitted that she left him alone to die and later put him in a suitcase and put the suitcase in a ditch. A rancher on the reservation found the baby on November 4, 1999.

Deegan was initially charged with first-degree murder but pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. Her plea agreement calls for a sentence of eight to 10 years.

Judge Daniel Hovland said he was not "comfortable" with the agreement because a second-degree murder conviction should result in a longer sentence.

Deegan was working for the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation's early childhood program when she was charged. The tribe fired her.

Get the Story:
Deegan pleads guilty in death (The Bismarck Tribune 12/11)
N.D. Mom Admits Killing, Discarding Baby (AP 12/11)
U.S. Attorney Talks About Deegan Guilty Plea (KXMCTV 12/10)

Relevant Links:
Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation -

Related Stories:
Fort Berthold woman can't return to tribal job (5/24)
Fort Berthold woman charged with murdering son (5/23)