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A Gary woman has pleaded guilty in Madison County to confining and killing an Anderson woman, whose infant daughter the defendant schemed to raise as her own child.

Geraldine R. Jones, 39, pleaded guilty Friday to voluntary manslaughter, a level 2 felony, for the fatal stabbing of Samantha J. Fleming, 23, whose body was found April 17, 2015, in Jones' home in the 1900 block of Cleveland Street.

Jones also pleaded guilty to two felony counts of criminal confinement for holding Fleming and her 3-month-old daughter, Serenity, against their will. 

The plea was first reported Friday by The Herald Bulletin in Anderson. Jones' defense attorney, Lisa DeLey, told The Herald Bulletin Jones will be sentenced May 25 to 30 years in prison followed by 10 years probation, per the terms of her plea agreement.

Jones was initially charged April, 20, 2015, with murder in Flemings' bizarre killing.

On April 6, 2015, Jones allegedly duped Fleming, a former Lake Station resident, into believing she was an employee of the Indiana Department of Child Services. Jones, dressed in business attire and armed with a binder of phony paperwork, went to the young mother's Anderson home and said she was there to drive Fleming to a Gary court hearing. She convinced Fleming to bring Serenity, arguing it would make her look better before the judge. 

Fleming and Serenity did not return home after leaving with Jones. Fleming's 21-year-old boyfriend reported her missing April 10, 2015. Anderson police determined the woman was near 15th Avenue and Interstate 65 by tracking her cellphone GPS.

Gary police officers went to Jones' home, where they found Serenity being cared for by Jones' sister. The sister said Jones had left for Texas a week earlier.

Police searched the home and found Flemings' body in a garbage bag taped shut and hidden in a storage bin in a closet.

Jones previously told neighbors and family members that she was pregnant with twins, though she did not allow friends of family members to visit her in the hospital. Police found a furnished nursery in the woman's home.

Jones was extradited from Texas and arraigned in May 2015 in Madison County. Though police believed Fleming was murdered in Gary, authorities decided to prosecute her in Madison County because that is where the initial crime occurred.

Jones' defense attorney said her client was “satisfied” with the plea agreement, The Herald Bulletin reported.

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Lake County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Steve covers Lake County courts and social justice issues for The Times. The UW-Milwaukee graduate joined The Times in 2016 after reporting on criminal justice in New Mexico and Wisconsin.