Tricia Woodworth could face a new trial despite already being found guilty in July
GARY, Ind. (WLS) -- A family is left stunned after a woman who was convicted of neglect in the 2016 death of a baby in Gary, Indiana, is now out free.
Tricia Woodworth was to be sentenced Wednesday in a Lake County Indiana courtroom. However, instead, she was released from custody Tuesday and she could face a new trial after the death of baby Maci Moor.
The family of baby Maci said they are still stunned by the sudden turn of events this week.
"I think all of us were in awe. I just felt empty. I thought how can this be," said Maci's great aunt, Brenda Crook.
"She doesn't deserve to be free," Maci's grandmother, Tracey Kerwin.
A Lake County judge granted a motion, paving the way for Woodworth to get a new trial. This, after a jury, found Woodworth guilty of neglect in July.
In 2016, Woodworth was babysitting her best friend's baby girl.
During the trial, there were conflicting theories about how to baby died: either at the hands of Woodworth or from a lingering injury the baby suffered days before she lost consciousness.
Attorneys for Woodworth argued there were errors during the trial.
"We feel this turn demonstrates that the precept of justice that is afforded all US citizens has certainly been exemplified in the Judge's ruling," Woodworth's attorneys said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the baby's family, who are already frustrated with the pace of justice after waiting years for the trial, is waiting again.
"There's clearly no winner in this situation. Nobody wins. Not only did we lose our granddaughter, Megan and Ryan lost their child. Megan and Tricia were best friends," Kerwin said. "It's torn apart the community."
"Nothing will bring that little girl back into our lives, nothing in this world will bring that little girl back but she did deserve justice," Crook added.
The Lake County prosecutor's office is expected to appeal Tuesday's ruling but the office would not comment on a pending case.