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Attorney Wants Mental Evaluation of Tennessee Woman Charged in Self-Induced Abortion Case

Jessica Mason Pieklo

The attorney for Anna Yocca, the Tennessee woman charged with attempted murder for allegedly trying to terminate her pregnancy with a coat hanger, suggested his client has a history of mental illness.

The attorney for Anna Yocca, the Tennessee woman facing an attempted murder charge for trying to terminate her pregnancy with a coat hanger, wants a mental evaluation of his client.

As reported in the Murfreesboro PostRutherford County Public Defender Gerald Melton was appointed to represent Yocca, who had told the court she could not afford an attorney. Melton, in a hearing Tuesday, told Circuit Court Judge Royce Taylor that due to the “serious nature” of Yocca’s case, he would need additional time to review the allegations against Yocca and further prepare her defense.

Melton, as part of that defense, indicated he planned to seek a mental health evaluation of Yocca, claiming his client has a history of documented mental health treatment.

Yocca, 31, is charged with attempted first-degree murder. She’s being held on $200,000 bond.

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Yocca allegedly went to her upstairs bathroom, filled the tub with water, got in and tried to “self-abort” her pregnancy with a coat hanger, according to police reports. Prosecutors claim Yocca grew “alarmed and concerned for her safety” when she saw a great deal of blood in the tub. Her boyfriend took her to St. Thomas Rutherford Hospital’s emergency room.

From there, she was transported to St. Thomas Mid-Town in Nashville, where staff members delivered a 1.5-pound “Baby Yocca,” according to police. The baby survived and will reportedly need extensive medical care.

Yocca was 24 weeks pregnant at the time she attempted to terminate her pregnancy, according to reports.

Judge Taylor scheduled Yocca’s next hearing for February 29, when the court will review the case and hear preliminary hearings such as the request for a mental health evaluation of Yocca.

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