By Dave Andrusko
A Prince Frederick, Maryland, woman, originally charged with one count of second-degree murder and two counts of manslaughter, has agreed to an “Alford Plea,” according to which prosecution will seek 20 years imprisonment at the Division of Corrections for the involuntary manslaughter of “Baby Boy A” and “Baby Boy B,” according to SouthernMaryland Online.
An Alford plea “recognizes that the state has sufficient evidence to yield a conviction, but the defendant does not admit guilt,” staff writer Andrea Frazier explained.
Judge Mark Chandlee set November 3 as Melissa Schrae Bowen’s sentencing date.
While there was an abundance of evidence, including numerous conversations with investigators, Bowen’s attorney, Louis Martucci, “pointed out that, because of the state of decomposition of the bodies, autopsies could not conclusively determine the manner of the babies’ deaths,” Frazier wrote.
Bowen was indicted in October 2013, following more than a year of police investigation.
According to the criminal indictment, “Baby Boy A” was killed between January 1 and December 31, 2007, and Baby Boy B” died between October 24, 2011, and January 31, 2012.
During the hearing, prosecutor and Assistant State’s Attorney Kathryn Marsh said Bowen’s mother discovered one of the babies in March 2012, while the other was found in an attic in a La Plata home.
“Bowen’s mother placed a 911 call March 8, 2012, after she found a deceased baby boy, with its umbilical cord still attached, in a trash bag in the trunk of her daughter’s car, which she had been cleaning out. Although Bowen — who had hidden both her pregnancies — originally stated that she had miscarried in Oct. 2011 at five months and had not previously known she was pregnant, an autopsy revealed that the baby weighed 6 pounds and that her story could not be true.”
Marsh said neither baby tested positive for illicit substances and “there were no medical or scientific reasons why both babies should not have been born alive,” Frazier reported.
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Almost exactly eight months later,
“officers of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office located a deceased newborn infant in a suitcase in the attic of a residence located in La Plata. Police determined that the infant died in Huntingtown in Calvert County and was subsequently transported by Bowen to the La Plata residence. Police believed that the infant was born between January 2007 and December 2007.”
Frazier also reported that
“Subsequent conversations with investigators revealed that Bowen did not know who the father of ‘Baby Boy B’ was, that she had continued to drink alcohol and snort cocaine and Percocet for the duration of that pregnancy and that she had known she was pregnant for months prior to delivery but had been unable to afford an abortion.
“Bowen also indicated that she knew in her heart that both babies had been born alive, that she was depressed and overwhelmed by the three children she already had and that each baby had lain on his side in the toilet with his nose and mouth submerged before being removed.”
Frazier noted that each of the two charges carries a maximum sentence of 10 years and a $500 fine. She concluded
“Assuming that no additional information like the advent of a prior criminal record or more dead children, the court will give a sentence of no more than 10 years, allowing Bowen to serve her two sentences at the same time, according to court documents.”