FRIDAY: Au Pair Has Life to Go

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass.: Get ready for the "Free Louise Woodward" campaign. The British au pair was sentenced to the mandatory life in prison Friday morning after being convicted of second-degree murder a day earlier.

On Tuesday, defense lawyers will ask Judge Hiller Zobel to overturn the verdict or reduce the charge, though that is deemed unlikely in such a controversial case. Thursday's verdict shocked court observers, who had expected the lengthy jury deliberation and a poor prosecution performance to result in a not-guilty verdict. Much of the U.K., where the trial has received gavel-to-gavel coverage, was aghast at the result. "The only 12 people who believe Louise Woodward is guilty are the 12 people on the jury," said defense lawyer Andrew Good. "I'm at a loss to understand how anyone in their right mind could come to this verdict."

Certainly Woodward, who tearfully maintained her innocence before the judge, would agree. But Deborah Eappen, the baby's mother, prefaced the sentencing with an emotional (and rather gratuitous) assertion that the British teen "didn't seem like a monster, or a child abuser or a murderer." To which her husband Sunil added: "I think that Louise has done a brutal thing ... I truly hope that she may someday find the peace of God in her life again."

Pending appeal, Woodward faces life in jail, with a chance of parole in 15 years. She may also apply for transfer to a British prison. And the child-care debate will no doubt continue to rage among people like the Eappens, a couple who hired an inexperienced teenager to look after their two babies for little over $100 a week.