Red Wing woman sentenced to 27 years after murder of infant

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(ABC 6 News) – Jennifer Lynn Matter, 50, was sentenced to 326 months, or about 27 years in prison in connection with the murder of her infant in December of 2003.

Matter previously pleaded guilty to 2nd-degree murder — with intent — not premeditated in the death of an infant found on a beach in Frontenac. She had been accused of an additional murder of another infant in 1999.

Goodhue County Sheriff Marty Kelly stated that justice had been served in the 24- and 20-year-old cases.

“There is no amount of time that the Court can impose on the defendant that will bring back the lives lost,” Kelly stated. “We are pleased today that the Court imposed a sentence that is fair, just and impactful.  The defendant must now not only live with her decisions for 27 years, she will have to reflect on her actions while incarcerated.”


(ABC 6 News) – UPDATE: A Red Wing woman charged with two counts of 2nd-degree murder after allegedly abandoning two newborns in the Mississippi River in 1999 and 2003 pleaded guilty to one count Wednesday in exchange for a comparatively light sentence.

Jennifer Lynn Matter, 50, entered the guilty plea at about 1 p.m. Jan. 25.

According to court records, Matter was charged in the deaths of two newborns whose bodies were found near Lake Pepin and at a marina near Mississippi River in Red Wing.

In her petition to plead guilty, Matter attested that she hid her 2003 pregnancy until December of that year, when she traveled to Methodist Beach in Goodhue County and gave birth to a male infant, who she placed on the sand and left, without alerting anyone of his existence.

The infant was found dead on the edge of the beach the next day.

In exchange for her plea, Matter’s petition specifies that her second charge will be dismissed at sentencing, her prison time will be capped at 326 months or about 27 years, and that her defense will in fact file a motion for a lighter sentence than 27 years.

Shortly after entering her plea, Matter was ordered to be released on $150,000 bail.


(KSTP) – Bail has been set for a Red Wing woman charged with two counts of second-degree murder.

Online court records show 50-year-old Jennifer Lynn Matter has had her bail set at $1.5 million without conditions, and $750,000 with conditions, including random testing, no assault, alcohol or drug possession and no alcohol or controlled substance use.

During Tuesday’s bail hearing, a judge denied Matter’s application for a public defender.

As previously reported, Matter is charged in the death of her newborn who was abandoned at a lake nearly 20 years ago, and in a criminal complaint, acknowledged abandoning another newborn whose body was found in the Mississippi River years before, according to law enforcement members.

Matter is charged with the 2003 death of a newborn boy whose body was found in Frontenac on the shore of Lake Pepin, a body of water on the Mississippi River.

The child’s umbilical cord was wrapped around his body, according to the complaint.

According to court documents, Matter told investigators she abandoned another newborn in 1999 in the Mississippi River. Charges have not been filed in that case, which is still under review.

When investigators interviewed Matter on May 5, she said she was living in Red Wing in 2003 and had gone to the beach to be alone because she was trying to lay low due to a pending arrest warrant, according to the complaint.

Matter told investigators she did not remember if she wrapped the baby in a towel or a blanket, but that it was dark and cold and she did remember leaving the newborn on the beach before driving away. She said she hoped someone who lived nearby would find him alive, the complaint says.

In the 1999 case, the newborn girl was found dead at a marina along the Mississippi River near Red Wing, and it was also determined through DNA to be Matter’s child, officials said.

Matter’s next court appearance is scheduled for May 25.