Crime

Woman told York Co. judge she had a baby to get a plea deal. There was no baby.

Jennifer Rebecca Crabtree
Jennifer Rebecca Crabtree York County Sheriff's Office

Facing drug charges, Jennifer Rebecca Crabtree told a judge in York County court she had a baby.

Turns out there was no baby, court officials said. And there had never been a pregnancy.

In an effort to get a plea deal and avoid prison, Crabtree claimed in court last April that she'd recently had a baby.

The prosecutor in the case became suspicious because he thought Crabtree showed no physical signs of previous pregnancy.

Crabtree, 38, of Concord, N.C., lied to the judge, prosecutors and her lawyer, according to court testimony and court records.

"The defendant lied to everyone involved about being taken to a hospital from the jail to have a baby two days before the April plea," said Matthew Hogge, the 16th Circuit assistant solicitor who prosecuted Crabtree. "She even stood in court and lied to the judge. She said the baby was in Tennessee with family."

Crabtree had been in jail since December when she was arrested on charges of passing a counterfeit bill and overdosing at a York store, jail records show. Crabtree had previous arrests for shoplifting and drug overdoses at a Fort Mill Burger King, a Rock Hill Walmart and other locations, court records show.

After the December arrest her bond had been revoked.

Crabtree told her lawyer while in custody that she was pregnant and due to deliver in April, so prosecutors fashioned a plea agreement in which Crabtree would get probation and be sent for drug treatment after the baby was born, court filings show.

When Crabtree pleaded guilty on April 4, she told York County Circuit Court Judge Dan Hall that the baby had been born two days earlier at a Rock Hill hospital, court documents show.

That's when prosecutors and court officials became suspicious.

Hall, when told Crabtree had given birth two days earlier, even offered to have her sit during sentencing but she refused, court records show.

Hogge, the prosecutor, then interviewed jailers and requested records from the York County jail about Crabtree being pregnant and her release to give birth.

"The captain in the jail told me that the defendant never had been pregnant and never had been transported anywhere to have a baby," Hogge said.

Hogge then asked Hall to reconsider the sentence because Crabtree had lied.

Hall sentenced Crabtree to two years in prison for lying about being pregnant.

Andrew Dys: 803-329-4065, @AndrewDysHerald
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