FARGO — Accused of drowning her newborn son in a bathtub in 2018, Ginny Rose Lubitz is headed to trial this week after authorities jailed a key witness over concerns that the witness would leave North Dakota before testifying.
Lubitz, 37, has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge, and prosecutors have dropped a charge of attempted murder against her. Lubitz appeared in court Monday, Jan. 6, along with the key witness, 47-year-old Kelly McIntyre.
McIntyre was jailed Friday after telling prosecutors she feared she would soon be homeless and planned to leave the state. McIntyre agreed Monday to cooperate with the prosecution and with the defense’s request for a deposition, and she was released on a personal recognizance bond.
Jury selection for Lubitz's trial is set to start at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Cass County Courthouse.
The night of May 5, 2018, police were dispatched to a south Fargo home on a report of a deceased newborn, according to court papers.
Authorities found Lubitz in the bathroom with a large amount of blood on the floor, and the newborn was found in the living room with Lubitz’s friend, court papers show.
McIntrye and a friend found Lubitz in the bathroom with the baby face down in about an inch of water, court papers show. The baby was pronounced dead shortly after police arrived.
Lubitz told McIntyre the child was stillborn, court papers stated. An autopsy indicated “an apparent live birth” and said the cause of death was “drowning from being placed face down in the bathtub,” court papers show.
Lubitz told authorities she knew she was pregnant near the end of 2017 and saved money for an abortion, but later believed she had a miscarriage. She said she didn’t realize she was still pregnant until April 2018, court papers stated.
Lubitz told police she didn’t know she was in labor on May 5, 2018. She said she took a bath to ease stomach pain, fell asleep in the tub and woke up with her stomach feeling tight. She said she leaned over the edge of the tub and gave birth within a few seconds, court papers show.
The web history on her cellphone showed searches about pushing during childbirth and searches related to abortion and terminating late-term pregnancies. Lubitz told police the searches were for a relative who was pregnant, according to court papers.
On Monday, Lubitz's attorney Kevin McCabe sought to delay the trial based on email correspondence between the Cass County Coroner’s Office and the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office. Information in the correspondence implied that the only definitive sign of a live birth is if there is food in the baby's stomach.
However, District Judge John C. Irby denied that request, along with another one from the defense seeking time to perform their own forensic search of a cellphone in the case. It was unclear whose phone was in question.
“There is exonerating evidence in that phone,” McCabe said. He received the cellphone and the prosecution’s cache of information from the phone last October, which the judge said was more than enough time for the defense to search the phone.