Before imposing a two-year prison sentence to a Nebraska mother in connection to her teen daughter’s late-term abortion, a federal judge lambasted Jessica Burgess for lying to investigators and to her probation officer, and for trying to hide the burned remains of the fetus. “While you do not have any criminal history, throughout this entire event you have displayed criminal thinking to the extent I have not seen,” said Judge Mark Johnson, reports Courthouse News Service. “And I have been in the practice of criminal law, including on the bench, for more than 40 years.” Burgess, 42, who pleaded guilty to felony charges of concealing or abandoning a dead body and performing an abortion beyond 20 weeks, plus a misdemeanor charge of false reporting, was sentenced to one year per charge.
Burgess will serve the false information and dead body charges concurrently, but the abortion charge is to be served consecutively. Factoring in Nebraska’s "good time" law, she will likely spend a year in prison. Her 19-year-old daughter Celeste Burgess, who had the abortion, leaned against a loved one and sobbed. It was a grim end to a case that received national attention after last year's U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, overturning the Roe v. Wade ruling that had guaranteed abortion rights prior to fetal viability. Another judge had sentenced Celeste Burgess to 90 days in jail, but with good time, she was had been released by Friday's hearing for her mother. Prosecutors say the body of the fetus was found burned and buried in a field. Authorities arrested the Burgesses, both residents of Norfolk in northeast Nebraska, after investigators uncovered Facebook messages indicating the two discussed using medication to end the pregnancy.