Wednesday, 30 March 2011

INFANTICIDE: France: Sergine and Joel Le Moaligou face trial after death of baby fed only on breast milk

29 March 2011
Court hears parents became vegan after watching documentary about abattoirs and refused to eat any animal products
Two strict vegans have gone on trial in France charged with "neglect or food deprivation" after the death of their breastfed 11-month-old daughter who was found to be suffering from vitamin deficiency.
Sergine and Joel Le Moaligou called an ambulance to their home in the village of Saint-Maulvis – 90 miles north of Paris – in March 2008 after their daughter Louise became listless. By the time paramedics arrived, the baby had died.
The police were alerted after the ambulance crew noticed the baby was pale and thin and a doctor refused to issue a death certificate. A postmortem showed the child, who had been fed only on her 37-year-old mother's milk, weighed 5.7kg when she should have been about 8kg.
She was also suffering from deficiency of vitamins A and B12, which may have left her susceptible to infection. She died of a pneumonia-related illness.
Medical experts told the court in Amiens that the vitamin deficiency could have been caused by an unbalanced diet. While anxious not to call into question the couple's lifestyle, Anne-Laure Sandretto, the deputy prosecutor, admitted: "The problem with a vitamin B12 deficiency could be linked to the mother's eating habits."
The parents, who also have a 13-year-old daughter who was not found to be suffering from any deficiencies, said they became vegan after seeing a TV programme about "how animals were taken to abattoirs", said the mother's lawyer, Stephane Daquo.
At the time of their daughter's death, they were running an organic food business and refused to eat any animal products. Daquo said they had a mistrust of traditional medicine and preferred to treat their children's complaints with advice from books.
"The couple did not follow the doctor's advice to take the baby to hospital when they went for her nine-month checkup and found she was suffering from bronchitis and was losing weight," he said. Instead they treated her with cabbage poultices, mustard and camphor and washed her with earth and clay instead of giving her baths, the court heard.
Daquo said the couple had been reading "the wrong things at the wrong moment". "They preferred to use recipes [treatment] based on clay or cabbage poultices that they got from their books," he said.
Patrick Quenel, lawyer for the father, whose business has gone into liquidation, said the couple were "completely aware of the mistakes they made".
They have been charged with "neglect or food deprivation followed by death" and face a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison if convicted. The hearing is expected to last until Friday.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

INFANTICIDE: Colorado: Estella Toleafoa charged with first-degree murder in baby's scalding death

Prosecutors filed a first-degree murder charge Monday against a Colorado Springs mother suspected of leaving her 9-month-old alone at home in a bathtub in which he drowned in scalding hot water.
During a brief court appearance, Estella Toleafoa, 23, also was charged with child abuse resulting in the death of her son Erich Tyler Jr. and with child abuse of her 2-year-old son Jamari Toleafoa.
According to an arrest affidavit, Toleafoa told police she left Erich and Jamari naked in the tub with about an inch of water in it while she went out to buy milk at a nearby convenience store.
Instead, she went across the street to a liquor store to buy cigarettes and to a restaurant to buy chicken wings, police said.
The dead child's father is a Fort Carson soldier who was serving in Afghanistan at the time of the March 8 incident.
The murder charge alleges that Toleafoa "knowingly" caused her child's death. If convicted of first-degree murder, she would face a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole. The child abuse resulting in death charge carries a sentence range of 16 to 48 years in prison.
On March 9, Colorado Springs police arrested her on suspicion of felony child abuse.
Deputy District Attorney Amy Fitch would not comment on why prosecutors decided to file the more serious murder charge.
David Webster, a former prosecutor turned private attorney with no connection to the case, said in general it is considerably harder to prove first-degree murder than child abuse resulting in death.
The murder charge requires that prosecutors show beyond a reasonable doubt that the mother knowingly put her child in a situation that would result in his death, Webster said.
Child abuse resulting in death requires prosecutors to prove that the mother unreasonably placed the child in a situation where death or injury could occur.
“That’s a pretty significant difference.” said Webster, who served for 10 years as a deputy district attorney in Trinidad and El Paso County. “They’re going to have to prove that she knew that when she went out. But that’s ripe for argument by a defense attorney.”
Toleafoa is being held on a $150,000 bond. Fitch said prosecutors will seek to revoke that bond now that the top charge has been upgraded to murder.
Toleafoa's surviving son has been placed with a foster family.
A date for a preliminary hearing will be set later this week.
The charges come at a time when the El Paso County Human Services Department continues to log record numbers of hotline calls of suspected child abuse.
According the county’s most recent report, in 2010 there were 12,604 calls in which people questioned someone’s parenting skills or called out of concern for the welfare of a child.
That figure was 13 percent higher than the previous record-setting year of 2009. It also marked the third year in a row in which El Paso fielded more child abuse referrals than any other county in the state. Last year, El Paso had 3,552 more calls than Denver.

FILICIDE: New York: Carlotta Brett-Pierce: Two ACS Workers Charged With Homicide In Child's Death, Grandmother Faces Manslaughter Charges

Last year, severely malnourished four-year-old Marcella Pierce died in her Bedford-Stuyvesant apartment weighing a scant 18 pounds and showing signs of other traumas. Her mother, Carlotta Brett-Pierce, was arrested and charged with murder, manslaughter and assault, but yesterday prosecutors charged three more people, including two Administration for Children's Services case workers and the girl's own grandmother, with contributing to her death. "Baby Marchella might be alive today had these ACS workers attended to her case with the basic levels of care it deserved, or had her grandmother stepped in and put a stop to the shocking abuse she is charged with facilitating," said Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes.

Two former ACS employees
were indicted on charges of criminally negligent homicide—it's believed to be the first time in the city’s history that child welfare workers had been charged with homicide in a child’s death—and Marcella's grandmother, Loretta Brett, was also indicted on manslaughter and other charges. Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes said, “I said at the time we announced the indictment of Marchella’s mother that this was not going to be an investigation that was going away. We are going to find out at long last what they’re doing at ACS to make sure there are no more child fatalities."
The indictment charges that the grandmother witnessed the little girl being tied to a bed and her crib many, many times. The indictment also charges that former ACS caseworker Damon Adams failed to make nearly all of the mandated biweekly visits to the Bedford-Stuyvesant home, and falsified ACS records to show he did; Chereece Bell, his former ACS supervisor, is accused of failing to properly oversee and monitor Adams' work with Marchella and her family.
In the wake of Marcella's death, a blame war ensued between ACS and nonprofit organization Child Development Support Corporation (CDSC) over who was more to blame for the death. Hynes said that he was convening a special grand jury to investigate “evidence of alleged systemic failures” at ACS. Among the cases they may be reviewing are: Major Gonzalez, an 11-month-old who died of viral pneumonia in Dec. 2009, and whose parents spent six months in jail for neglect; Jashya Brown a two-year-old victim of battered child syndrome who was found dead in August 2008; and Nixzmary Brown, another severely malnourished seven-year-old whose parents are both serving long sentences in jail for her death.

INFANTICIDE: The Canadian argument that the infanticide law no longer serves its original intent

James Morton, March 21, 2011
James Morton is a Toronto lawyer (presently on circuit in Baker Lake, Nunavut) who teaches at Osgoode Hall Law School of York University.
He is a past president of the Ontario Bar Association. The views herein are solely his own (

L.B. killed two of her children by smothering them shortly after they were born. L.B. was 17 years old at the time she killed her first baby but was an adult at the time of the second killing.
In both cases the killings came to light only after L.B. confessed while she was a patient in a psychiatric facility -the two deaths had been thought accidental. In both cases, L.B. smothered the children shortly after birth and while she suffered from significant mental illness arising, at least in part, from the consequences of childbirth.
L.B. gave a detailed statement to the police admitting that she killed her children. She explained she was "really confused" and "fighting with her thoughts." L.B. insisted that she did not want to hurt her children, but wanted to help them.
L.B. was charged with two counts of first-degree murder. At her trial the judge found L.B.'s thinking suffered a "disturbance" as a result of giving birth. Nevertheless, the court found she did have the mental capacity to understand what she was doing and concluded that L.B. intended to kill her children.
In the end, the judge found that L.B. was guilty of infanticide and not guilty of murder. She was given a sentence of 18 months on top of time served in jail, and probation. The sentence was far less severe than it would have been for murder.
In Canada the killing of a human being is always called homicide. Homicide is divided into two categories -culpable and non-culpable. In almost all cases culpable homicide is murder (where the accused intended to kill or was reckless as to killing) or manslaughter (where the accused didn't intend to kill but did so where there was a clear risk of bodily harm).
In some very rare cases, as with L.B.'s case, there is a third form of culpable homicide -infanticide.
Infanticide entered the law in the United Kingdom (and to Canada) in the 1920s because juries refused to find mothers who killed their newborn children guilty of murder. The penalty for murder was hanging and juries, faced with a mother who had obviously killed her child, refused to convict for murder and acquitted or found against the mother for lesser offences such as concealing a pregnancy.
Infanticide was not brought into law to show clemency to the weakness of mothers but rather as a way to ensure that mothers would be convicted of something in spite of the inclination of juries to acquit.
This last point is significant. The Crown appealed the trial decision in L.B.'s case and said that she should have been convicted of murder, saying that infanticide is just a special case of murder. The Crown said infanticide "rests on discredited medical opinions and assumptions about the plight of young unwed mothers that do not accord with present reality, and constitutes an unacceptable devaluation of the worth of a newborn child."
In fact, far from devaluing the worth of a newborn child, the offence of infanticide was created to ensure there would be some punishment for the killing of a baby.
The rarity of facts justifying charges of infanticide led to real doubt as to what relationship the offence had to other offences such as murder -is infanticide merely a specific example of murder, as the Crown argued in L.B.'s case, or is infanticide a separate offence which offered a defence to a charge of murder? This was the main issue before the Court of Appeal for Ontario.
If the mother can raise infanticide as a partial defence to murder she is liable to a maximum penalty of five years. However, if infanticide is merely a special case of murder, when a mother is convicted of murder she must be sentenced to life imprisonment. The distinction is far from trivial.
The Court of Appeal made its decision largely on statutory interpretation. The Criminal Code provides "culpable homicide is murder or manslaughter or infanticide." That suggests that murder and infanticide are mutually exclusive. Certainly the dramatically different penalties for the offences are consistent with the offences being mutually exclusive -it makes little sense for an accused to be facing either a maximum penalty of five years or a minimum penalty of life imprisonment for the same act depending only on what particular form of charge the Crown employs.
Based on these considerations the Court of Appeal held where infanticide is made out, a conviction for murder is not available and the maximum sentence is five years in jail. Put otherwise, infanticide is a defence to a charge of murder.
The Court of Appeal's decision, while legally sound, leads to an odd policy result. Infanticide was intended to ensure stiffer punishment for the killing of newborn children. The effect of the Court of Appeal's decision that infanticide is a defence is to lessen the penalty that would otherwise follow for murder. The effect has been to make the law on infanticide the reverse of what Parliament intended; rather than increase, it decreases, punishment.
A "law and order" initiative from the 1920s has an unexpected consequence today.

INFANTICIDE: Maggie Jean Wortman accused of killing infant son with methamphetamine-laced breast milk

Thadeus Greenson/: 03/21/2011
A 26-year-old Loleta mother facing allegations that she killed her 6-week-old son by feeding him methamphetamine-laced breast milk tested positive for the drug during pregnancy, according to court documents in the case.
Maggie Jean Wortman has pleaded not guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter and felony child endangerment and is scheduled to appear in Humboldt County Superior Court today for a hearing to set future court dates in the case.
Humboldt County Sheriff's Office detectives arrested Wortman after a two-month investigation into the death of her son, Michael Phillip Acosta III, who was transported to a local hospital because he was not breathing on Nov. 2. He was pronounced dead later that day.
Court documents, as well as interviews with people familiar with Wortman and her family, shed new light on the case.
According to an affidavit for an arrest warrant recently included in Wortman's case file, Dr. Neil Kushner determined her son's cause of death to be “methamphetamine toxicity.” The document also states that a hair follicle sample taken from Wortman's now 23-month-old daughter tested positive for methamphetamine as well, prompting Child Welfare Services to take her into protective custody.
The document, written by Sheriff's Office Detective Kyla Smith, also states that Wortman received pre-natal care while pregnant with Michael and tested positive for methamphetamine use when six months pregnant.
In interviews with law enforcement, Smith wrote, Wortman admitted to smoking methamphetamine during pregnancy and doing so approximately three times after giving birth. The affidavit also states that Wortman exclusively fed Michael through nursing.
Smith said she reviewed information and pamphlets routinely given to pregnant mothers at the place Wortman went for prenatal treatment.
”There was a lot of information about drugs and how it affects you and your child, be it born or unborn,” Smith said.
Some people familiar with Wortman and her family told the Times-Standard they repeatedly witnessed Wortman smoking methamphetamine around her children. They requested anonymity talking about the case due to its sensitive nature.
Wortman smoked methamphetamine almost daily, the people claim, adding that they personally witnessed her smoking methamphetamine while holding Michael. Wortman was on drug probation at the time, according to court records.
One of the sources said they were aware of calls made to Child Welfare Services to report concerns over the safety of Wortman's two children.
”The system failed the children and the system failed her,” one source said.
Jeri Scardina, deputy branch director for the Department of Health and Human Services Children and Family Services, said she couldn't comment about specific cases. However, Scardina said her department is mandated to take reports 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
When a call comes in with a report, Scardina said, it is evaluated to see whether it requires an in-person response and, if so, whether that needs to be done within 24 hours or within 10 days. During the in-person response, Scardina said, staff will interview or inspect the child and possibly the parents and make a determination of whether there is an immediate safety threat to the child or an ongoing risk.
Kathryn Wells, the medical director at Denver Family Crisis Center and author of a paper on methamphetamine and pregnancy, said cases like Wortman's touch on areas where there is really a dearth of scientific research. No study has conclusively determined what toxic methamphetamine levels are in children. Additionally, only limited research is available on what levels of the drug can be passed through breast milk, Wells said.
Because they claim methamphetamine smoke was so prevalent in the small trailer in which Wortman lived with her kids, those familiar with the family questioned in interviews with the Times-Standard whether secondhand smoke from the drug alone may have been enough to kill Michael and result in a positive test for Wortman's daughter.
On the night of Michael's death, the sources said, about a half dozen people were in the trailer smoking methamphetamine for a long period of time.
Wells said the subject of secondhand toxicity is still being studied.
”To my knowledge, I don't think we have any data that says secondhand exposure is enough to kill a kid,” Wells said, speaking generally and not about Wortman's case. “I think most of us believe that just breathing in secondhand smoke is not enough to ping a positive test.”
Methamphetamine also metabolizes out of the body within 48 to 72 hours of ingestion, Wells said, making it unlikely it could build up in someone's body over time.
Cases like Wortman's are relatively rare, and prosecutors may find a challenging road ahead. Similar cases have been filed, however.
In Riverside County in 2002, Amy Leanne Prien faced a murder charge after her 3-month-old son was found to have died of acute methamphetamine intoxication. After multiple trials, Prien pleaded guilty in 2006 to a charge of involuntary manslaughter, which, coupled with a conviction on a felony child endangerment charge, left Prien with a 14-year prison sentence.
In February, a Wyoming mother, Crystal Ann Cardenas, was arrested and charged with negligent homicide and child endangerment with methamphetamine after her 2-month-old son stopped breathing and later died.
Smith said she has been in touch with officials in Los Angeles County who helped her work Wortman's case.
Court records also indicate that Wortman has previously faced criminal charges relating to her care of children.
In February 2010, Wortman was charged with battery, causing or permitting cruelty to a child and committing an immoral act before a child stemming from an incident when she allegedly attacked her husband, Michael Acosta. According to the court documents, Wortman was holding an infant child while repeatedly hitting Acosta in the neck. Responding officers reported finding a “clear glass tube pipe” on the kitchen table of Wortman's residence, according to the court documents.
In May, Wortman pleaded guilty to battery, and the other charges facing her were dismissed. She was ordered to enter a 52-week domestic violence counseling program and given three years probation, according to the documents.
Those interviewed by the Times-Standard who knew Wortman and her family said they suffer great guilt that they didn't try to do more to protect Wortman's children and to have them removed from her care.
“That baby was so beautiful and so alive, and it just meant nothing,” one said.

FILICIDE: Manitoba: Nicole Redhead

Jaylene Sanderson-Redhead died June 29, 2009. Doctors said they found signs she had suffered long-term abuse. Jaylene Sanderson-Redhead died June 29, 2009. Doctors said they found signs she had suffered long-term abuse.
A woman who, as a child, witnessed her mother kill her father is now preparing to go to prison for killing her young daughter.
The chilling tale of multi-generational family violence is playing out in a Winnipeg courtroom, and is likely to raise more questions about Manitoba's child welfare system.
Nicole Redhead, now 29, had worked as a prostitute and was addicted to crack cocaine.
In 2009, she regained custody of her toddler from CFS as she entered an aboriginal women's shelter that offers parenting courses and other supports.
But she became violent with the young girl, and one night in June, she held her hand over the girl's mouth until she stopped breathing, court was told.
She then placed the child back in her crib and put a blanket over her. She did not tell anyone about what happened except her boyfriend — via telephone, because he was in jail. The boyfriend called the shelter and told them what happened.

'Gratuitous violence'

Autopsies would later reveal dozens of bruises on the girl's body and bites on her legs. Some bruises were old, some were still forming when she died.
It was "gratuitous violence", according to Crown attorney Colleen McDuff, who asked the court Monday for a 12-year sentence.
"There is a degree of anger, malevolence, that is difficult to explain," McDuff said.
Redhead pleaded guilty last year to manslaughter but has failed to show any remorse, McDuff said.
The woman addressed the court briefly Monday. She did not apologize for the death, but instead criticized the support services offered at the shelter.
"Every time I did ask the staff for help, there was no one there to help me," Redhead said in a soft voice.
Defence lawyer Steven Brennan said the woman is unable to show remorse because she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder after a horrific childhood and a series of abusive adult relationships.
At the age of nine, she saw her mother kill her father, Brennan said.
"She remembers seeing a lot of blood," he told the court.
She was put into foster care and was sexually abused at age 11, he said. Later, she turned to prostitution to make money and became addicted to alcohol and crack cocaine. The trauma has left her unable to show emotion, Brennan said, even when she feels deeply remorseful.
"This is a horrible background. Simply horrific circumstances," he said.

Defence asks for six years
Brennan asked for a sentence of five to six years, minus double credit for the time she has spent in custody since her arrest.
Chief Justice Glenn Joyal of Court of Queen's Bench has reserved decision on her sentence until mid-April.
He frequently challenged the defence's assertion that the woman deserved sympathy, and pointed to evidence that showed the woman did not participate in support programs at the shelter.
"She suffered more than most human beings should ever have to contemplate ... but at a certain point, she was given advantages," Joyal said.
"She declined the very support offered to her."
Joyal also pointed to Child and Family Services' decision to give the woman back her child "at a time when she probably ought not to have had any child near her."

FILICIDE: Texas: Vikki Maccias son died from blunt force head trauma

Matt Rivers - Multimedia Journalist
March 22, 2011
EL PASO- Vikki Macias is sitting in county jail behind tonight, accused of murdering Dallas Ryan Macias, her four-year-old son.  Tonight, her lawyer and her brother spoke to us about the case.
"It's hard.  It's like losing two family members," says Vince Barreda, Vikki's brother and Dallas' uncle.  "I'm in shock you know about it.  It's not something that's easy to take.  It's very hard to put into words how one's supposed to feel about that."
It's a situation no family should ever have to go through.  26 year-old Vikki Macias turned herself in to police yesterday, who arrested her on capital murder charges.
According to the indictment, Dallas died of blunt force trauma to the head, a blow struck, police say, by Vikki Macias.
"In situations like this someone has to be held responsible, and as of right now, unfortunately, that's my sister," Barreda said.
Dallas hit his head in his bedroom at the Macias family home, on March 12.  But exactly what happened that day is a point of contention, with some arguing that the death was just a tragic accident.
Justin underwood is Vikki Macias' attorney.  He says his client was nowhere near her little boy when he hit his head, merely guilty of not being there when it happened.
"Dallas was playing in his room one moment, she went off down the hall, and she heard something that sounded awful, she went back in there, and he was unconscious on the floor," the lawyer said.
The arrest affidavit shows a history of abuse, and says there is evidence to prove it.  The medical examiner found the boy had a fractured left leg.
It was partially healed but never treated, something they call a tell-tale sign of abuse.  That, in combination with unreleased witness statements, were enough for police to make an arrest.
Barreda told us he didn't want to comment on his sister's possible guilt or innocence.  He only wants justice served, and the truth to come out.
He also told us Dallas's father is currently in jail.  We called CPS this afternoon, and they say there is no prior history with Child Protective Services.

FILICIDE: Indiana: Latisha Lawson and room-mate Natasha Hawkins charged for murder

 23 Mar 2011, Drew Blair

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - A second woman has been formally charged in the killing of a three-year-old boy.
Natasha Hawkins, 31, is accused of participating in the death of her roommate’s son in November 2009. Jezaih King’s body had been stored in a plastic tote until discovered by authorities in December 2010.
The toddler’s mother, 31-year-old Latisha Lawson has been charged with his murder.
Lawson admitted to police she forced a mixture of olive oil and vinegar down her children’s throats because she thought they were demon possessed. Hawkins suggested the use of oil as a form of exorcism, according to court documents.
Lawson’s 10-year-old daughter vomited when given the mixture. Her son was given the oil and vinegar three times. Hawkins admitted to police that she held the toddler’s legs to keep him from kicking during the feeding. On the third time, Lawson told detectives she held Jezaih’s mouth shut for about 10 minutes until he stopped breathing.
Preliminary cause of death was listed as asphyxia due to compression of the neck.
Hawkins along with her three children, Lawson and her daughter were all present when the boy stopped breathing, court documents indicate. Hawkins told police that she would burn a candle in the residence to mask the smell of the body.
The Allen County Prosecutor’s office filed seven felony charges against Hawkins on Monday. The charges relate to aiding in battery causing death. Other charges of neglect and battery resulting in bodily injury relate to Hawkins’ treatment of her own children.
A trial date for Hawkins will be set at a hearing on April 6.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

FILICIDE: Ontario: Starved to death by grandparents Elva Bottineau and Norman Kidman

March 25 2011An inquest will be held into the death of a five-year-old boy who died of starvation in his grandparents’ Toronto home.
Ontario Chief Coroner Dr. Andrew McCallum says an inquest can be held now that all court proceedings in Jeffrey Baldwin’s death have been completed.
McCallum says the inquest jury will hear evidence regarding the circumstances of the boy’s death on Nov. 30, 2002.
McCallum says the date, location and presiding coroner will be announced at a later date.
Jeffrey weighed only 21 pounds and was covered in sores when he died from complications due to chronic starvation.
Elva Bottineau and Norman Kidman were convicted of second-degree murder in Jeffrey’s death and their appeal was rejected earlier this month.
Bottineau and Kidman were convicted in 2006 and sentenced to life in prison with no parole for 22 and 20 years, respectively.
Kidman and Bottineau were designated as legal guardians for Jeffrey and his sister, who had suffered abuse at the hands of their birth parents.
Bottineau and Kidman used the children as a source of income, collecting government support cheques in their names while they confined them to a dark, unheated room that reeked of urine and feces.
Bottineau’s lawyer James Stribopoulos had argued his client’s conviction should be overturned because the trial judge “swept away evidence of Bottineau’s highly incapacitated mental state.”
Justice David Doherty, one of the three judges who heard the appeal, said the trial judge had taken Bottineau’s IQ of 69 — borderline mental retardation — into account when sentencing her to life in prison.
“He finds that she’s of limited intellect, but she’s also a lying, manipulative person,” Doherty said in rejecting the appeal.
The judges also dismissed arguments that Kidman played no part in Jeffrey’s abuse.
“He’s there every day, his room is next to the dungeon that these kids were being tortured in,” Doherty said. “There’s all kinds of evidence that he knocked this kid around.”
Although Jeffrey and his sister lived in squalor, the rest of the house was normal, including the living quarters of other children in the home.
Richard Litkowski, the lawyer for Kidman, had asked court to quash Kidman’s murder conviction and instead send him to prison for manslaughter.

Friday, 25 March 2011


Bob Mitchell : Mar 24 2011
Police in London are awaiting post-mortem results on a dead newborn found in a hotel room where it is believed a teen from Barrie gave birth during a school trip. “At this point we really don’t know what we’re dealing with,” said Simon Fisher, spokesman for the Metropolitan London Police force. “We’re not sure if we’re dealing with a homicide. The post-mortem will determine the cause of death and where we go from there.” The post-mortem examination was scheduled to take place Friday. Barrie police tracked down the 15-year-old who they believe gave birth in a hotel on Lampton Rd. in the suburb of Hounslow near Heathrow Airport. Hotel staff discovered the full-term dead baby about 12:45 p.m. on March 19. Fisher said the baby showed no obvious signs of trauma. “The baby was pronounced dead at the scene,” he said. Fisher didn’t know where the dead baby was found in the hotel room or if it had been concealed. Police in England quickly determined the room had been occupied by high school students on a class trip from Barrie but they had already left the hotel earlier and were on their way back to Canada. Barrie police were contacted by Interpol the day after the baby’s body was found and asked to assist London investigators in locating the Canadian teenager. After Barrie police found the 15-year-old, they took her to Royal Victoria Hospital where she was examined and released. Police in England could seek extradition if the case turns out to be a homicide.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

FETICIDE (from Wikipedia)

Feticide or foeticide is an act that causes the death of a fetus. In a legal context, "fetal homicide" or "child destruction" refers to the deliberate or incidental killing of a fetus due to a criminal human act, such as a blow to the abdomen of a pregnant woman. As a medical term, feticide is destruction of a fetus, for example as the first phase of a legal induced abortion. Feticide does not refer to the death of a fetus from entirely natural causes, such as the miscarriage of a pregnancy.

Fetal homicide

Laws in the United States

Fetal homicide laws in the United States
  "Homicide" or "murder".
  Other crime against fetus.
  Depends on age of fetus.
  Assaulting woman.
In the U.S., most crimes of violence are covered by state law, not federal law. Thirty-five (35) states currently recognize the "unborn child" (the term usually used) or fetus as a homicide victim, and 25 of those states apply this principle throughout the period of pre-natal development. These laws do not apply to legal induced abortions. Federal and state courts have consistently held that these laws do not contradict the U.S. Supreme Court's rulings on abortion.
In 2004, Congress enacted and President Bush signed the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which recognizes the "child in utero" as a legal victim if he or she is injured or killed during the commission of any of 68 existing federal crimes of violence. These crimes include some acts that are federal crimes no matter where they occur (e.g., certain acts of terrorism), crimes in federal jurisdictions, crimes within the military system, crimes involving certain federal officials, and other special cases. The law defines "child in utero" as "a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb."
Of the 35 states that recognize fetal homicide, 25 apply the principle throughout the period of pre-natal development, while 10 establish protection at some later stage, which varies from state to state. For example, California treats the killing of a fetus as homicide, but does not treat the killing of an embryo (prior to approximately eight weeks) as homicide, by construction of the California Supreme Court. Some other states do not consider the killing of a fetus to be homicide until the fetus has reached quickening or viability.
Unlawful abortion may be considered "feticide", even if the pregnant woman consents to the abortion.

Child destruction
In English law, "child destruction" is the crime of killing a child "capable of being born alive", before it has "a separate existence".The Crimes Act 1958 defined "capable of being born alive" as 28 weeks' gestation, later reduced to 24 weeks. The 1990 Amendment to the Abortion Act 1967 means a medical practitioner cannot be guilty of the crime. The charge of child destruction is rare. A woman who had an unsafe abortion while 7½ months pregnant was given a suspended sentence of 12 months in 2007; the Crown Prosecution Service was unaware of any similar conviction.

Use during legal abortion

In abortions after 20 weeks, an injection of digoxin or potassium chloride to stop the fetal heart can be used to achieve feticide. Less commonly, urea may be injected into the amniotic sac, or the umbilical cord may be cut, resulting in the fetus bleeding to death. Fetal death causes the tissues to soften, making removal of fetal parts in a dilation and evacuation procedure easier. In the United States, the Supreme Court has ruled that a legal ban on intact dilation and extraction procedures does not apply if feticide is completed before surgery starts. When used before labor induction, feticide prevents the possible complication of live birth. The possibility of unsuccessful feticide—resulting in birth of a live infant—is a malpractice concern.
The most common method of selective reduction—a procedure to reduce the number of fetuses in a multifetus pregnancy—is feticide via a chemical injection into the selected fetus or fetuses. The reduction procedure is usually performed during the first trimester of pregnancy. It often follows detection of a congenital defect in the selected fetus or fetuses, but can also reduce the risks of carrying more than three fetuses to term.

FILICIDE: Mississippi: Terrie Robinson, child found in oven

Murder: Terrie A. Robinson was arrested after the warm, burned body of her son Tristan was found inside her oven
A mother is accused of murdering her three-year-old son whose charred body was found in her oven.
Terrie A. Robinson, 24, from Mississippi, was arrested yesterday after police found her son Tristan's burned body inside the electric oven at her apartment.
Washington County Coroner Methel Johnson said the child had been burned in the oven, but an autopsy was ordered to determine whether he died before or after being put there.
The child's body was still warm when it was removed from the appliance.
Mr Johnson said of the incident: 'This is a really sad moment for me. I've seen a lot of things, but this is one that will stick in my memory for a long, long time.'
There appeared to be some trauma to the three-year-old's  head and it was possible that could have happened before he was placed in the oven.
Officers found the body after responding to an emergency call, but no details were released at this time.

INFANTICIDE: VIRGINIA: Cecelia Burnette charged second degree murder

The murder trial of a Bedford mother gets underway in Bedford.
Cecelia Burnette is charged with 2nd degree murder and felony child abuse by a parent for the 2008 death of 8-month-old Marissa Burnette.
In the Commonwealth's opening statement, a prosecutor said the injuries that killed Marissa Burnette were as violent as those from a car accident or from falling from a multi-story building.
The prosecution stated in September 2008, Cecelia Burnette took her baby to the doctor.  The prosecution claims Cecelia left her baby with Josh Cheek, while Cecelia went to pick up a prescription.  Cheek was Celelia Burnette's boyfriend at the time.
The prosecution told the jury Cheek saw the baby's eyes roll back in her head and the baby began to shake violently.  The prosecutor stated Cheek called  Cecelia, who told him he was overreacting.  The prosecution stated it took Cecelia Burnette 45 minutes to get home.
The baby was taken to Bedford Memorial Hospital and transported to Roanoke Memorial, where the prosecution says a doctor suspected the baby had head trauma.
The prosecution says Cecelia Burnette gave both doctors and police conflicting statements about who was taking care of the baby and what may have caused the injuries.  The prosecutor also stated Cecelia called a Child Protective Services worker to make sure the worker wasn't going to stop by the home.

FILICIDE (multiple attempted): Michigan: Shanda Lou Yenglin

 March 14. 2011 Mike Martindale / The Detroit News
Waterford Township— A 911 emergency recording released today by the Waterford Township Police reveals a teenage girl calmly reporting details of the Feb. 28 incident in which her mother killed herself and tried to kill her four children with carbon monoxide fumes.
"Our mom is passed out in the garage," a girl's voice can be heard telling the 911 operator. "..And she's cold and she can't move or nothing."
Township Police Chief Dan McCaw told reporters earlier this month how Shanda Lou Yenglin, 37, tried to make her children — aged 10 to 14 — cold by turning down her home's thermostat.
She then served them milkshakes laced with painkillers and sleeping pills and directed them into a van inside the home's closed garage.
But one of the children, a 13-year-old girl, awoke shivering during the night and went back in the house for a blanket, police said.
When she returned to the van, she found her mother lying on the garage floor. The girl woke up a 14-year-old sister who had earlier returned to a bedroom, and then called 911 shortly after 8 a.m.
Once connected, she told the dispatcher she had found her mom unconscious on the floor of the garage at the home
A male dispatcher asks: "Is she breathing?"
The girl answers: "I can't tell."
Chief McCaw said the girls, while conscious, were in rough shape, and the two boys were worse.
"When we got there, the girls were walking around the house, dazed," said McCaw. "I don't know if it was because of the shock of what happened, the carbon monoxide fumes or the drugs. But they definitely were not in good shape."
All four survived. The girls are in a foster home and the boys are in a state facility, McCaw said.
(248) 338-0319

FILICIDE: Massachusetts: Dora Tejada Accused of Killing Daughter during Exorcism

Jupiter -
Dora Tejada, 26-year-old mother said she had to kill her 3-year-old daughter during an exorcism.
According to reports, she shoved her fist into her daughter's mouth, believing it would exorcise the "devil" out of the toddler.

The Salvadorian woman told authorities that she has the ability to see dead people and God speaks to her directly calling it "a gift from God." , relatives reported that her behavior was making them uncomfortable.

Shocking to believe that a mother could kill her own child because God order her to do so.

The child's death is the first homicide to occur on the island of Nantucket in two years, the Boston Globe reported.

FILICIDE: Australia: Keli Lane

Louise Hall
March 19, 2011
    Keli Lane ... wept in court.  Keli Lane ... wept in court. Photo: Brendan Esposito
    KELI LANE wept as her mother and a friend told a court how her nine-year-old daughter has become withdrawn since her mother has been in custody and asks every day about when she will be coming home.
    Lane's mother Sandra broke down at a sentencing hearing in the NSW Supreme Court when she described the first time she took Lane's fourth child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, to see her mother at Silverwater Women's Correctional Centre.
    ''I saw two very distressed people who just love each other so much,'' Mrs Lane said.
    Lane, who was facing the two women from the dock, cried whenever her daughter was mentioned. The former elite water polo player was convicted by a jury in December of murdering her two-day-old baby Tegan after they left Auburn Hospital in 1996. The body has never been found.
    Her long-term GP, Jeremy Thompson, told the packed courtroom that Lane ''struck me as being a very balanced, excellent mother'' whenever she took her daughter to see him.
    Dr Thompson said he asked Lane during a consultation in 2004 if she had killed Tegan. ''She said 'No, no, I would never do that' and got very emotional about it,'' he said.
    Lane, 35, fell pregnant six times over nine years, having two terminations in her late teens before keeping three pregnancies - and births - secret. Her first and third babies were adopted out and she claimed she gave the second baby, Tegan, to its natural father, a man named Andrew Norris or Andrew Morris. But despite extensive police searches, Andrew and Tegan have never been found.
    In his submissions, defence barrister Keith Chapple, SC, said although a jury had found Lane murdered Tegan, there was no definitive evidence that she intended to kill the baby or that the death was premeditated.
    He said the judge could find it had been ''a momentary, instantaneous decision'', resulting from panic or lack of perceived options.
    But the crown prosecutor, Mark Tedeschi, QC, said despite where and how the baby died remaining a mystery, ''it doesn't detract from the totality of the evidence that she left the hospital with the intention of killing the baby and she did kill the baby''.
    Justice Anthony Whealy said he would have ''difficulty'' determining both Lane's intention and an appropriate sentence.
    ''I don't really know what happened to her [Tegan]. For all I know she could have abandoned the child and the child died,'' Justice Whealy said. ''I have no evidence that she manually or physically took the child's life or just left it to die, I just don't know.''
    In the 42 character references tendered to the court, including one from her former husband, Lane was repeatedly described as a devoted and loving mother, a dedicated teacher, a successful sportswoman and active in her local community.
    Her father, retired policeman Robert Lane, wrote: ''My wife and I have great difficulty coming to grips with the position Keli finds herself. We will continue to support her in anyway we can.''
    Justice Whealy will hand down his sentence on April 15.

    FETICIDE: Indiana: Bei Bei Shuai

    Mother: Bei Bei Shuai, from Indianapolis, has been charged with murder and infanticide after drinking rat poison in the final week of her pregnancy
    Mother: Bei Bei Shuai, from Indianapolis, has been charged with murder and infanticide after drinking rat poison in the final week of her pregnancy
    A woman has been charged with killing her unborn child by deliberately swallowing rat poison in the last week of her pregnancy.
    Bei Bei Shuai, 34, gave birth to a baby girl called Angel days after taking a lethal dose of the poison.
    But despite efforts by doctors to save her life she died three days later from bleeding in her brain.
    Shuai later told police she had taken the rat poison on December 23 to try and kill herself after her boyfriend left her.
    The bizarre suicide attempt was discovered by one of her friends who found her slumped in a car outside her home.
    Shuai said she had taken rat poison and was rushed to the Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana.
    Her daughter was delivered by caesarean section on New Year's Eve 2010 and immediately placed on life support.
    Police launched an investigation after hospital authorities said the baby girl had died from complications caused by chemical in her system.
    When investigator's searched Shuai's home they found an open packet of rat poison.
    Rat poison pellets were also found on the floor and in a vacuum cleaner.
    Shuai was arrested at her home in Indianapolis and charged with murder and infanticide.
    She was due to make her first court appearance today.

    FETICIDE: Indiana: Bei Bei Shuai took poison in suicide attempt

    March 16 2011
    A woman who admitted to authorities that she ingested rat poison when she was 33 weeks pregnant, resulting in the death of her child days after birth, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of murder and attempted feticide as her attorney lashed out at prosecutors.

    Bei Bei Shuai, 34, is from China but has been living in the United States for about 10 years.

    Angel Shuai was born alive on Dec. 31 but died on Jan. 3, suffering from a brain hemorrhage because her mother took the poison, investigators said
    Shuai told police that she wanted to kill herself after her boyfriend left her.

    Shuai's attorney, Linda Pence, said the case shouldn't have been filed and that she will be vigorously defended.

    "Charges against pregnant women are wrong. In every jurisdiction that has looked at this but one … courts have tossed this out," Pence said. "Prosecuting women that were pregnant is bad for babies. These kind of prosecutions … make women afraid to come forth for health reasons and other reasons. Babies die when you prosecute women. I can't believe this office decided to file this."

    A similar case has never been brought in Indiana courts, though Shuai's defense team said there is case law from other states.

    "The mother controls her body. The mother has a right to live. This is not the place to address these horrid kinds of situations," Pence said. "Criminal justice is not the place where you take care of these things."

    Dave Rimstidt, Marion County chief trial deputy, said careful consideration was given before charging Shuai.

    "This is a very unique case," Rimstidt said. "Every charging decision is very difficult and goes through a process where we consider all the facts, all the circumstances, and under this situation, we believe we've charged the two charges we can prove."

    Shuai's defense team is also getting help from a legal defense group called the National Advocates For Pregnant Women.

    FETICIDE: Indiana: Bei Bei Shuai eats poison, is charged with murder after baby dies, Ind. cops say

    Carlin DeGuerin Miller
    CBS/AP) INDIANAPOLIS - A pregnant Indiana woman who allegedly tried to commit suicide by eating rat poison last December is being charged with murder and feticide after the baby died a few days later, according to police.
    Pregnant woman eats poison, is charged with murder after baby dies  Bei Bei Shuai (Credit: WISH)

    Indianapolis police Officer Catherine Cummings said Tuesday that detectives arrested 34-year-old old Bei Bei Shuai, who surrendered Monday with help from her lawyer.

    Shuai's attorney, Linda Pence, said the charges are not only unwarranted, but they could prevent other troubled mothers from seeking the help they need, according to the Indianapolis Star Tribune.

    David Rimstidt, chief deputy to Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry, said the case was unique but the charges were appropriate given the facts, the paper reported.

    Police say Shuai told friends in Anderson that she swallowed rat poison on Dec. 23. The friends took her to a hospital in Anderson, and she was transferred to a hospital in Indianapolis, where she gave birth Dec. 31. Angel Shuai died Jan. 2.

    Shuai is currently being held without bond, but Pence told the Star Tribune she plans to ask the judge to dismiss the charges and allow her client to bond out.

    FILICIDE: Virginia: Cecelia Burnette did not intentionally kill her eight-month-old daughter.

    Jeremy Mills

    Bedford Co., VA - A Bedford County jury has decided Cecelia Burnette did not intentionally kill her eight-month-old daughter.
    Cecelia Burnette Cecelia Burnette
    The verdict Thursday sparked an immediate outcry of disappointment from the family of the baby's father.
    It's taken three days of testimony to clear the young mother of murder charges. She had been accused of violently shaking her child to death back in September of 2008.
    Burnette has continued to maintain her innocence, claiming her ex-boyfriend was responsible.
    The jury's decision is not all good for Burnette because she will still serve a prison sentence. The jury found her guilty on a lesser charge of felony child abuse resulting in serious injury. And they've recommended an eight year sentence and a $75,000 fine.
    That is some consolation to the family of Adam Davis, the biological father of baby Marissa. They were hoping for a murder conviction, and they cried in court after the verdict came down.
    (11:30 a.m. Thursday) Bedford Co., VA - Closing arguments are starting soon in the murder trial of Cecelia Burnette, the Bedford County mother accused of shaking her baby to death.
    On Thursday morning, the defense brought up multiple witnesses who said Cecelia was a great mother to Marissa. The eight-month-old died in September 2008.
    Several of the witnesses told the court they have children of their own, and they wouldn't hesitate for a second to have her babysit them.
    The defense took a 10 minute recess before closing, but Burnette did not end up taking the stand.
    The jury will likely deliver a verdict by late Thursday afternoon.

    Monday, 14 March 2011

    FILICIDE: New York: Migdalia Veras

    8th March 2011
    The mother who allegedly stabbed her disabled son to death with a foot-long knife told police that he begged her for months to kill him.
    Migdalia Veras, 57, from New York, allegedly told detectives that her son Rene, 39, wanted to die as he was afraid that he would be left alone to battle cerebral palsy if she died first.
    Veras is said to have stabbed her son in the stomach last week before turning the knife on herself in a botched suicide attempt at their housing authority apartment in Queens.
    Statement: Veras made the confession to police from her hospital bed in New York Hospital Medical Centre where she was taken after she stabbed herself in the chest
    Statement: Veras made the confession to police from her hospital bed in New York Hospital Medical Centre where she was taken after she stabbed herself in the chest
    Stabbed: 38-year-old Rene Vera was wheelchair-bound because of his cerebral palsy. His mother told police he begged her to kill him
    Stabbed: 38-year-old Rene Vera was wheelchair-bound because of his cerebral palsy. His mother told police he begged her to kill him


    Around 2-3 of the 1,000 children born in the U.S. each year has cerebral palsy.
    It is caused by damage to the developing brain before or during birth.
    There are several different types, but the most common is spastic cerebral palsy in which the body's muscles are stiff or weak.
    In dyskinetic cerebral palsy, sufferers struggle to control their muscles and may have difficulty speaking.
    It ranges in severity, but some patients struggle to do even the most basic tasks because movement is so restricted.
    There is no cure, but the condition does not get worse over time, although adult sufferers can develop more muscle stiffness and arthritis.
    It is a common misconception that sufferers have learning difficulties. Many have above average intelligence but struggle to communicate.
    Police interviewed her at New York Hospital Medical Centre where she was taken after she stabbed herself in the chest.
    Her statement was then piped into Queens Supreme Court via video feed on Monday.
    According to the New York Daily News, she told officers from her hospital bed: 'He asked me to kill him.'
    She claims that two months ago, they were both sitting on his bed when he first asked her: 'Rene handed me the knife and repeated, "do it".'
    Talking about the day he was killed she allegedly said: 'I told him I did not want to do it. He then took the knife and stabbed himself. He then kept begging me not to leave him alone and kept asking me to kill him.
    'I then took the knife that was on top of the bed. I picked up the knife and stabbed him in the chest.'
    'I then tried to go with my son by cutting my wrists but I could not do it because my hands were shaking.'
    Residents at the apartment block the Veras lived in told the Daily News that Rene was unable to communicate and simply smiled at people to acknowledge them.
    She is being held without bail on a second-degree murder charge and faces 25 years to life in prison.
    The case continues.

    INFANTICIDE: Oklahoma: Lyndsey Fiddler accused of drowning her infant daughter in a washing machine

    03/10/2011 :  Russell Mills
    BARTLESVILLE, Okla. - A Bartlesville woman accused of drowning her infant daughter in a washing machine will stand trial, a Washington County judge ruled Thursday.
    Lyndsey Fiddler is accused of first-degree murder in the death of her 10-day-old infant, Maggie May Trammel, last November.
    The first Bartlesville police officer on the scene last November, Ofcr. Stacy Neafus, told the court that when he arrived firefighters had the baby, whom he described as "limp, lifeless, gray in color."
    He testified that he asked Fiddler what had happened, at which point she threw her hands into the air and exclaimed "I guess I put my baby in the washing machine."
    Next on the stand was investigator Adam Duncan, who described Fiddler's demeanor during her initial 911 call as "hysterical."
    Fiddler, he testified, said she had taken Lortab because of her recent C-section, and said she had smoked marijuana three months earlier.
    She told Duncan that she had put the baby down to sleep in a bassinet with a pink blanket and a pacifier, then went to bed herself.
    When she awoke, she said her aunt, Rhonda Coshatt, was pulling the baby out of the washing machine.
    Duncan told the court that at one point Fiddler tried to blame the death on Coshatt, saying "that crazy b**** killed my baby."
    The defense attorney argued that Fiddler's hysterics and attempts to perform CPR on the baby proved that she hadn't intended to kill her.
    BPD Investigator Steve Birmingham took the stand later and testified that he arrived to find several officers already on the scene.
    He said Ofcr. Duncan directed him to look in the washing machine for a pink blanket, which he found. He noted a "void" in the clothes in the front of the machine, and said the search also turned up a pacifier.
    He also testified that officers accidentally turned the machine on when they closed the lid; they immediately unplugged it and photographed the machine's settings.
    A light on the machine indicated it was on the second of two spin cycles. Birmingham described the clothes inside as soaking wet.
    After a lunch break, Benjamin Trammel, the suspect's boyfriend and the dead infant's father, took the stand.
    He said the baby seemed content, and that Fiddler took good care of her. When asked by the defense if the baby appeared at all unhealthy, he said "she seemed small when she was born. Other than that, I thought she was perfect."
    Next to testify was Rhonda Coshatt, Fiddler's aunt and the person who discovered the baby's body.
    Coshatt said she had been in Tulsa that day for a doctor's appointment. She told the court she was on several medications that day, and had trken a 15 mg morphine pill at about 4:30 that afternoon.
    She said Fiddler, Trammel, and Fiddler's two young sons were home when she arrived at the house. The two boys left about 40 minutes later to attend a wrestling practice.
    She said Fiddler seemed okay that evening, tired but coherent. However, she said, Fiddler "was on meth." She stated that Trammel had gotten Fiddler started on the drug, that she had tried to quit but he kept bringing it into the house.
    Coshatt did admit she never actually saw Fiddler use meth, but she could tell.
    "Lyndsey was (sic) a good woman," she said. "She loves her children, but she had a definite problem with methamphetamine."
    After the boys left for wrestling, Coshatt said she saw Fiddler sitting in a chair feeding the baby and then getting up, presumably to put the baby down for a nap.
    Fiddler returned to the chair and "passed out," according to Coshatt, who was watching TV and had the volume up fairly high.
    The boys returned home shortly after 7 p.m. and at that point Coshatt said she tried to check on the baby, but couldn't find her.

    After looking under sheets and clothes, she said she became frantic and tried to waken Fiddler, screaming at her asking where she had put the baby.

    Fiddler later awoke and wandered the house, according to Coshatt, and then began making a baloney sandwich.
    It was around this time when Coshatt said she noticed the washing machine was running off balance and going to investigate, found the baby inside.
    “She looked like a doll,” said Coshatt, describing the condition of the baby. She continued on, saying the infant had a line on her forehead and down the left check. She said the baby was cold and wet. She said she tried to revive the baby and was unable to do so.

    Around this time Fiddler found Coshatt with the baby and screamed at her, accusing her of killing the child, said Coshatt. The aunt said she told Fiddler it was rather she who killed the child. It was during this time that Fiddler placed the 911 call.
    During the closing arguments, Fiddler's defense said Fiddler did not willfully or maliciously kill the child, and that no intent to kill a child charge could be supported.
    The state argued that no specific intent was required. The prosecution said evidence collected through urine samples showed Fiddler was under the influence of intoxicants, saying that Fiddler placed
    herself in a state of intoxication where she could not care for Maggie May and put her in the presence of drugs, endangering her. Essentially, the state's position was that she killed the child by neglecting her.

    The judge ruled there was enough evidence for Fiddler to stand trial for both felony child neglect and first degree murder. Her next court appearance is scheduled for April 27th.

    How it happened
    The macabre story came to light with a phone call to Bartlesville police from Fiddler on Nov 4, 2010.
    She told them that a relative had killed her baby, but the call taker could hear someone in the background yelling that Fiddler had killed the infant.
    Police arrived at the home to find Maggie's body in the washing machine.
    A medical examiner's autopsy later determined that the 10-day-old child had drowned.
    The report indicated that Maggie had contusions on her scalp, left ear, neck, chest and buttocks and abrasions on her cheeks and scalp.
    It concluded that she had not suffered any internal injuries.
    Initially, Fiddler faced charges of felony child neglect, but a count of first-degree homicide was added after the autopsy was completed.
    Investigators say the mother tested positive for methamphetamine and other drugs at the time of her arrest.
    The Department of Human Services had made multiple visits to the home prior to Maggie's death, but had not removed the children from the home.
    Fiddler has two young sons, who are now in DHS custody.

    FILICIDE: South Africa: Mapaseka Seoka

    Judge warns mom who killed her child - 'Don't kill your other baby'

    Mar 9, 2011 | Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi Court allows her to go home on this condition

     I killed my daughter because my baby's dad 'fell in love with another woman' 

    FOUR years after a 28-year-old woman stabbed her nine-day-old daughter to death, she described to the court how she did it.
    Mapaseka Seoka told the Veereniging regional court that on August 18 2008 she took her daughter to an open veld, put her on the ground and stabbed her.
    "I took her to an open veld in Newclare. On arrival I stabbed the deceased with an intention to kill her. I stabbed her next to the ribs with a pair of scissors," she said in a statement read by her lawyer.
    Seoka said she could not remember how many times she stabbed her daughter, Ditlhoriso.
    "I then put her body in a plastic bag and dumped it in a bucket."
    She then left the scene.
    Seoka was originally charged with killing two children, her 14-month-old son Lebohang and nine-day-old baby Ditlhoriso.
    The first child was killed on August 17 and the baby was murdered the following day.
    Yesterday Seoka only pleaded guilty to killing Ditlhoriso. Charges against her for the murder of Lebohang were provisionally withdrawn pending further investigation.
    She said the reason she killed her daughter was that she was unemployed and frustrated by the baby's father.
    "Since I gave birth the father of the child did not maintain her. He also fell in love with another woman. That frustrated me," she said.
    Seoka said she was sorry for her actions.
    Judge Boisie Mbha found her guilty of the murder of Ditlhoriso.
    Seoka has since given birth to another child -- an 18-month-old baby girl born when she was out on bail for the murder of the first two children.
    Prosecutor J Jacobs said the state did not have enough evidence to prove that Seoka also killed her son.
    Mbha said he was worried about extending Seoka's bail of R1,000 because "she might harm her 18-month-old baby".
    "Ordinarily if you are found guilty, bail is cancelled. But I was thinking of extending your bail until the case was finalised because you have a baby. But my concern is that you have been found guilty of murdering a child. I am worried about the safety of the child."
    The judge asked Seoka's mother and her brother to give him the assurance that the baby would not be harmed.
    The case was postponed to March 31 for a probation officer to assess Seoka.

    Monday, 7 March 2011

    FILICIDE (multiple): Scotland: Theresa Riggi admits killing her three children

    Theresa Riggi with Cecilia and twins Luke and Austin. (Picture obtained by the BBC) Theresa Riggi killed Cecilia and her brothers Luke and Austin at their home
    A mother has admitted killing her three young children at their Edinburgh home.
    Theresa Riggi, 47, pled guilty to a charge of culpable homicide on the grounds of diminished responsibility. She was originally charged with murder.
    Her eight-year-old twins Austin and Gianluca and their five-year-old sister Cecilia were found dead at their flat in Slateford Road on 4 August 2010.
    They were discovered with multiple stab wounds after a suspected gas explosion at the property.
    Riggi, who appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh, denied a further charge of recklessly causing the explosion.
    The family had moved to the city from Skene in Aberdeenshire following the break-up of her marriage to the children's father, Pasquale Riggi.
    In August Mr Riggi, a Shell employee in Aberdeen, said of the tragedy: "It's been shocking. You are paralysed with grief.
    "The hardest moment was when I first found out.
    "Your life is all about your children. In one instant that's gone."
    California-born Riggi appeared in court wearing a pale-coloured suit and walked with a limp as she is still recovering from her injuries after jumping from the flat's balcony.

    Sunday, 6 March 2011

    FILICIDE: Oklahoma: Women in prison: Vicki Chiles, Lyndsey Fiddler, Jeannie Henderson, Amber Ketcher

    Nearly 250 women in Oklahoma are serving prison sentences for killing someone.
    They killed spouses, children and strangers. Many will spend the remainder of their lives in prison.
    That means 6.64 women per every 100,000 Oklahoma residents are in prison for killing someone.
    Nationally, 4.07 women per 100,000 of the U.S. population are in prison for killing someone, according to U.S. Department of Justice and 2010 Census data.
    State Department of Corrections data show that about 33 percent of the women in Oklahoma prisons are serving time for violent crimes, with murder and manslaughter the most common of those.
    Child abuse is the next most common crime among violent women in Oklahoma prisons. Corrections Department figures for October 2010 show that 122 women are serving state prison sentences for felony child abuse.
    Oklahoma has made national news in recent years for several high-profile, horrifying cases of child abuse or neglect that resulted in a death.

    In November, Bartlesville police were called to an apartment where Maggie May Trammel, who was 10 days old, died after going through a washing machine cycle.
    The baby's mother, Lyndsey Dawn Fiddler, is charged with child neglect. Authorities said additional charges could be filed when the medical examiner's report is complete.

    In 2008, Vicki Leigh Chiles, a home day care operator, was convicted in Tulsa County of murdering Joshua Minton, 2, by placing duct tape over his mouth and hands, obstructing his breathing and causing him to choke on his vomit.
    Chiles originally was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, but the Court of Criminal Appeals modified her sentence last year to 30 years. Under the state's 85 percent rule, she must serve about 25 years before she will become eligible for parole.

    In 2005, Jeannie Henderson was convicted of second-degree manslaughter after her 8-month-old son, Christian Marten, burned to death while she slept on a nearby couch. Prosecutors contended that Henderson, who they said was deprived of sleep during a weekend methamphetamine binge, "crashed" and couldn't hear her baby screaming or crying after his walker became stuck on a furnace grate. The infant burned to death. Henderson was tried on a charge of second-degree murder, but a jury found her guilty of second-degree manslaughter and possession of a controlled drug in the presence of children younger than 12. A judge ordered her to serve two four-year sentences for both felonies and said at the time that anyone who proclaims that drug crimes are victimless crimes "ought to have to take a look at the picture of your son, who died on that floor furnace." Henderson was paroled in May 2008.

    Methamphetamine production led to the death in 2009 of Sean Ketcher, 28, in Tulsa and a prison sentence for his wife, Amber Ketcher, on a charge of second-degree murder. She was also convicted of four other felonies - one count of manufacturing a controlled dangerous substance and three counts of child endangerment, for allowing her three children to be present during the manufacture of methamphetamine.

    INFANTICIDE: Uganda: Elizabeth Zawedde

    Elizabeth Zawedde, a mother to three decided to end the life of her three children saying she was fed up of life after she had a heated argument with her husband with whom she had been married for 13 years.

    The children, Jeremiah Mulindwa, 8, Jennifer Namutebi, 6 and Kato, 1. Kato, the youngest of the three was killed instantly while Jeremiah and Jennifer were rescued by by passers and car washers. According to Entebbe Police head of criminal investigations, Frederick Wetaya, Elizabeth, after a quarrel with her husband, Salongo Moses Mubiru, boarded an Entebbe-bound vehicle with her children yesterday. “Witnesses said when the vehicle got to Kitubulu, she got out with the children and jumped into the water with them,” Wetaya said.

    According to Wetaya, passersby heard children screaming and dashed into the water and rescued the two while Kato was already dead. “The strong waves kept pushing them back to the shore. It was sheer luck otherwise they would have drowned,” he said. Car washers, who participated in the rescue, retrieved the body of Kato who was swept away and he died instantly according to Wetaya.

    In a statement given by the mother of the children, his twin Wasswa died at birth. Namutebi and Mulindwa, after being rescued were able to disclose that their mother deliberately pushed them into the water. The police in Entebbe detained Zawedde, who will face charges of infanticide. “This was outright murder. According to what happened, there was malice aforethought,” Wetaya said.

    Mubiru was in shock when he arrived at Entebbe police station at about 2:00am yesterday saying he had been in Mpejja attending a burial. The police said, the couple had quarreled before after Mubiru had reportedly suggested that they rent out their house as a way of boosting their income.

    “But Zawedde thought that Mubiru was tricking her with plans to marry another woman,” Wetaya added.

    FILICIDE: Mississippi: Terrie Robinson put her live child in the oven

    HOLBROOK MOHR   03/ 4/11
    JACKSON, Miss. — A toddler whose body was found inside the electric oven at his family's home died from heat injuries, according to preliminary results from medical examiners released Friday.
    Washington County Coroner Methel Johnson said the pathologist was still trying to determine if 3-year-old Tristan Robinson was conscious when he was put inside the oven. He also appeared to have suffered trauma to his head.
    Greenville Police found the boy's body at his mother's apartment Wednesday after responding to an emergency call just after midnight. The mother, 24-year-old Terrie A. Robinson, has been charged with murder. She is being held on a $5 million bond.
    Police have declined to release many details because of the ongoing investigation.
    Johnson said a little girl found in the home was placed in the care of the Mississippi Department of Human Services.
    "I've seen a lot of things in my years doing this, but nothing like this," Johnson said. "I just thought about my grandchildren."
    Terrie Robinson's twin sister, Sherrie Robinson, told WXVT-TV that people should not judge her sister before all the facts are known.
    "She was a great parent, a good person. We don't know what's wrong. We don't know what happened. Do not sit there and call her a bad mom cause that's not what she is," Sherrie Robinson told the TV station.

    FILICIDE: New Jersey: Patricia Graham-Hawthorne filicide and suicide

     March 04, 2011,  By Bob Considine and Eugene Paik/The Star-Ledger
    Staff writers Mike Frassinelli and Seth Augenstein contributed to this report.
    Patricia Graham-Hawthorne, left, and Allison
     From the outside world, Patricia A. Graham-Hawthorne seemed to be living a dream life with a child she cherished, a husband who provided, a supportive family and friends, and a home on a hill in idyllic Bernardsville.
    But a different reality was served Thursday when authorities announced that Graham-Hawthorne had drowned her 4-year-old daughter, Allison, before taking her own life in brutal fashion. Those who knew the Westfield native are now searching for answers in their anguish.
    "She had so many people she could talk to," said Chris Gray, a long-time friend of Graham-Hawthorne. "But apparently she didn’t think she did."
    Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano said in a statement Graham-Hawthorne drowned her daughter on Feb. 24 in an upstairs bathroom of their $1.9 million home on Round Top Road. She then killed herself by ingesting paint thinner and filling her lungs with water, in addition to slicing her wrists.
    Soriano’s statement said investigators learned Graham-Hawthorne had been accessing numerous websites that detailed methods of committing suicide. Jack Bennett, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office, did not return phone calls seeking for further detail.
    Robert P. Hawthorne, Graham’s husband and a partner in a New York-based insurance company, could not be reached. He was the one who discovered the horrific scene and called 911, authorities have said.
    Graham, 45, and Hawthorne, 59, were married about five years ago, friends said. They lived in Blauvelt, N.Y., in Rockland County, before moving to Bernardsville early last year. Hawthorne divorced from his previous wife in 2001 and has several grown children from that marriage.
    Several of Graham-Hawthorne’s friends said she went through great lengths to have a child. She underwent fertility treatments for more than a year before Allison was conceived. Gray said she was "elated" when she became pregnant with Allison.
    "She really enjoyed being a mom," he said.

    One friend, who declined to give a name, said Graham-Hawthorne originally was content with not having a child in her mid-30s but then had a change of heart.
    "I think she thought, 'You know, my life isn't very complete,' " the friend said.
    After Allison was born, Graham-Hawthorne would occasionally talk about the "challenges of parenting."
    "But there was nothing there to indicate it would raise to the level of this," the friend said. "She always (seemed to) have a handle on parenting."
    Shanaz Shaheen, one of Allison’s teachers at the Montessori Center of Nyack, N.Y., described Graham-Hawthorne as a caring and reserved woman, who was a "good parent" involved in her child’s education.
    "She was always on top of things and attended all the school events," Shaheen said.
    Shaheen said Graham-Hawthorne sometimes spoke of her struggles to conceive another child, but never revealed any larger issues.
    "There was nothing out of the ordinary," she said.
    Graham-Hawthorne, a homemaker who would sometimes cut hair, maintained a Facebook page that listed as one of her likes. The site promotes calm parenting techniques through group classes. The site’s host, Aviva Schwab, said she did not know Graham-Hawthorne.
    Typically, there are five patterns of "filicide," or murder of one’s child, that are identified by mental health experts, said Melissa Runyon, professor of psychiatry at UMDNJ-School of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford.
    Categories include maltreatment resulting in death, psychotic episodes and parents who simply don’t want to have the child anymore. But two more complex categories include "altruistic" filicide in which the parent — generally a mother — decides to kill the child and then herself to protect the child from a threat or perceived threat, Runyon said. The final, least common instance of a parent killing a child, is for taking revenge on the other spouse, she said.
    Runyon, not speaking specifically to the Graham-Hawthorne case, said filicide is not always preceded by a pattern of abuse.
    "It very well might be that these are loving parents, kind parents — and then all of a sudden, you have the incident. And it’s almost unbelievable to everybody," she said.
    Little is known about the dynamics of Graham-Hawthorne’s relationship with her husband. One friend said she had an uneasy relationship with one of Hawthorne’s three grown children from his previous marriage.
    When Allison was born, the family still lived in Blauvelt. A former neighbor in New York said the couple went back-and-forth on their decision to move to New Jersey. They eventually sold their Rockland County home in October 2009.
    Allison, a blond-haired, blue-eyed girl, was to start kindergarten in the fall. She had attended the Albrook School in Basking Ridge and took swimming, language and karate classes, according to her obituary.
    Both mother and daughter were laid to rest Wednesday at Fairview Cemetery in Westfield.
    Jeni Gray-Roberts, another friend of Graham-Hawthorne, said the shock of this tragedy won’t wear off.
    "Her Christmas cards always had a picture of Alli," she said. "Her daughter was everything to her."