• Chelsea Becker was arrested after her baby tested positive for meth at birth
  • Her attorneys argued there is no proof the drug use resulted in stillbirth
  • Becker’s prosecutors argued she needed treatment for use of narcotics 

A California woman, who was charged with murder and spent 15 months in jail after her stillborn baby tested positive for methamphetamine, was granted bail Tuesday.

Chelsea Becker, 26, was being held in Kings County jail against a $2 million bail bond, which she failed to post. Her attorneys argued the state’s homicide law doesn’t apply to pregnant women and that there is no proof that drug use results in stillbirths, ABC-affiliated WFTV reported.

Becker was arrested in September 2019 for giving birth to a stillborn child whom she had named Zachariah Campos. The child tested positive for meth at birth, and the coroner’s report had listed toxic levels of the drug as the cause of death, the outlet reported.

Kings County Superior Court Judge Robert Shane Burns approved her lawyer’s plea to release her to an out-of-county residential treatment center pending trial. Becker pleaded not guilty to the homicide charge.

Becker’s prosecutors argued charging her with murder didn’t make sense as she needed treatment for repeatedly abusing narcotics while pregnant, not prison time.

“Despite Ms. Becker’s lengthy and continual history of using illegal narcotics and failed attempts at recovery, we maintain hope in her recovery and her ability to stop choosing drugs over her children," Phil Esbenshade, the top assistant district attorney in Kings County, said about Becker’s release, according to WFTV.

“We are deeply saddened, horrified that this case has been continuing for 15 months, keeping someone incarcerated because she lost a pregnancy, which thousands of women do every year,” WFTV quoted Lynn Paltrow, executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, as saying. The organization is providing legal support to Becker.

One of Becker’s attorneys, Dan Arshack, said the pathologist failed to review her medical record which stated she had three infections that could have caused the stillbirth. He added there is no reason to believe that the stillbirth occurred due to the use of meth as Becker had previously given birth to three live babies.

Her three children were born with meth in their systems, Detective Sgt. Justin Vallin of the Hanford Police Department was quoted as saying by news outlet Your Central Valley, after Becker's arrest. Becker had reportedly lost custody of her children due to her substance abuse issue.

California’s top prosecutor Xavier Becerra sent a friend of the court a brief, stating the state’s homicide law was never meant to apply to pregnant women and demanded the charges against Becker be dropped. The judge in the case, however, went on to charge her anyway.

Representational image. US Customs and Border Patrol/Flickr