Baby Gabriel's mom wants out of jail

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- Baby Gabriel's mother says she should be released from jail until her sentencing on convictions of custodial interference, conspiracy to commit custodial inference and unlawful imprisonment.

Elizabeth Johnson has been in jail for nearly three years. Last week, a jury convicted her on three charges in connection with the December 2009 disappearance of her then 8-month-old son, Gabriel Johnson. The jury chose not to convict her of the most serious charge -- kidnapping -- opting instead for the lesser charge of unlawful imprisonment.

Johnson is facing between two and nine years behind bars, but her lawyer says he will fight for probation.

"Beating the kidnapping charges means, at the end of the day, she's eligible for probation on everything else," Marc Victor told 3TV's Ryan O'Donnell less than 24 hours after the verdict was announced.

Johnson's sentencing date will be determined at a status conference on Nov. 1.

Right now she's being held on $1 million bond, but she believes she should be released from jail on her own recognizance. It's not clear when the judge will decide on her request.

When baby Gabriel first disappeared, Johnson told the child's father that she smothered him to death and threw his body in a trash bin. She later said she gave him to a couple in San Antonio. That's the story she's been telling ever since although she has never revealed the couple's names.

The child was last seen alive in photos taken in a San Antonio hotel room. Despite an exhaustive multi-state search, there has been no sign of Gabriel since those pictures were taken right after Christmas 2009.

It's not known if the child, who would have turned 3 in April, is alive.