By Dave Andrusko
It took a jury less than three hours last week to find Amanda Hein guilty of first degree murder in the death of her newborn son whom she smothered, put in a plastic bag, and then placed in a toilet tank at a pub in Lower Saucon Township, Pennsylvania
Hein, 27, will spend the rest of her life in prison without chance of parole.
Hein had faced capital-murder charges for the August 19, 2013, murder of her newborn son. Facing a possible death sentence, Hein pled guilty last month. The jury’s sole job was to determine whether the conviction would be for first-degree or third-degree murder.
As we reported last year, Hein had kept her pregnancy a secret. She was at a sports bar with three friends watching wrestling when she went into labor.
She went into the bathroom at Starter’s Pub where she remained for 40 minutes. During that time, she gave birth to a baby boy. (An autopsy later revealed that the baby was born alive and healthy and would have survived.)
“Her friends began texting her while she was away during the 40-minute ordeal, but she never responded,” the Morning Call reported. “When she emerged from the bathroom stained in blood, she asked everyone to ignore it. She then grabbed her purse and went out to smoke, the friends later told police.”
A cleaning crew found that baby, estimated to be 33 to 36 weeks , when the toilet wouldn’t flush. They found that baby wrapped in a bag that lined a garbage can in the stall.
Police were able to find Hein because of the large amount of blood left on the booth at which she sat.
At a hearing last year, in testimony from a township police officer and Zachary Lysek, the Northampton County Coroner, the court heard that Hein had “detailed the birth and death of the baby boy after being picked up Aug. 20 at her Allentown apartment.”
Lysek testified that Hein told him she placed the baby in a small bag she’d found in a trash receptive in the toilet stall, after separating the umbilical cord from the child. “She explained that the child was still, then she cried out, ‘He was alive,’” Lysek testified.
At the trial, the Morning Call reported
“Hein’s lead attorney, Michael Corriere, maintained she acted only with reckless indifference to her newborn’s life, after mistakenly concluding he had died before or during birth. While Hein should have sought medical help for him, that didn’t mean she plotted his death, Corriere said.”
But District Attorney John Morganelli
“charged Hein knew exactly what she was doing when she hid her pregnancy from those around her, delivered without telling anyone, then returned, bleeding, to her friends to watch the hour-long conclusion of the pay-per-view wrestling event for which they had come.
“’If she didn’t intend death, she would have called for help, to help her little baby live,’ Morganelli told jurors during closing arguments Thursday.”
Authorities said the baby died of suffocation, with cold-water exposure and a lack of medical care contributing.
At a news conference Morganelli was unable to answer the question “Why?”
“Why, I don’t know. But the criminal justice system does have to protect everyone. … Whether it was one hour or 10 minutes old or a year old, it is a person, and this person’s life was taken. … I cannot get inside this lady’s head. I have no clue.”
Defense attorney Corriere told the Morning Call that he respects the jury’s decision.
“We tried to put the best case forward that we could on her behalf,” Corriere said of the defense team. “The facts were tough.”
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