A former Army soldier who has admitted leaving her newborn daughter to die on an Eagle River park bench was sentenced to 12 years with three suspended Wednesday, as well as five years probation. 

The judge said Ashley Ard could be out in six years with good behavior. 

Ard, 29, attended a sentencing hearing in an Anchorage courtroom. She pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of her child in October 2013, shortly after she delivered the infant without medical assistance.

According to information presented in court, Ard suffered peripartum depression after the death of her newborn. The paternal aunt of the deceased newborn pleaded in court Wednesday for mercy in sentencing.

"She would never hurt anyone intentionally," the woman said. 

Prosecutors argued at the sentencing hearing, “This baby was as vulnerable as it gets. The child went from the womb to the cold in the span of an hour wrapped in a single towel. She was the only one who knew about the child. It was defenseless. This was preventable.”

Although Ard – an Army specialist at the time of the child’s death – was originally charged with second-degree murder in the case, the prosecution and defense began to discuss a plea deal for manslaughter last summer. Then-Anchorage District Attorney Clint Campion suggested a minimum starting point of five years in prison for the crime, but Ard’s attorney Rex Butler suggested three.

Ard was discharged from the Army for misconduct - serious offense.

Scott Jensen contributed to this report. 

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