Woman Who Killed Neighbor, Took Unborn Child Faces Justice

Court Decision: Woman Who Killed Neighbor, Took Unborn Child Faces Justice

The highest court in Massachusetts upheld the woman’s 2009 first-degree murder conviction after she killed her former neighbor and slashed her open in order to take her child.

In 2014, a jury found Julie Corey guilty of first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping of Darlene Haynes, a 23-year-old. However, a judge overturned her felony murder conviction five years later, finding insufficient evidence to establish that she had committed aggravated kidnapping at the time of the crime. Corey also requested a new trial, arguing that her legal representation was inadequate, but her request was turned down.

The conviction for first-degree murder was upheld by the Supreme Judicial Court on Monday, overturning the ruling of the lower court.

On July 27, 2009, Haynes’ landlord broke into her Worchester apartment because he was worried about her cats. When the landlord walked into the unit, he was greeted by a “very foul” scent. A “leg fell out” as he entered a bedroom closet and pulled on a blanket. Haynes had a nine-inch abdominal incision and an electrical cord around her neck when she passed away. She was eight months pregnant. The infant had vanished.

She died from strangulation and brutal force injuries, according to an autopsy.

The investigation turned up Corey, who had convinced her partner and others that the kid was still on the way despite having recently experienced a miscarriage. The previous year, Haynes and Corey had lived next door for a short while.

The prosecution painted Corey as a crazy woman who was anxious to get pregnant because her boyfriend was going to dump her and she was going to lose her benefits if she didn’t get pregnant. They claim that Corey planned to help Haynes, but instead killed her, disemboweled her, and took her infant daughter, who lived through the trauma.

Corey showed the boyfriend the girl and took her to doctor’s visits, acting as though she had given birth. A forged birth certificate was discovered by investigators in her boyfriend’s vehicle.

She said during her trial that the police had not conducted a thorough investigation and had assumed Haynes’ boyfriend, who had previously acted violently toward her and another woman, could be the murderer. Haynes’ partner killed the deceased and gave the kid to Corey, according to her defense.

In support of the prosecution, the jury found Corey guilty of first-degree murder. She received a life sentence in jail.

The lower court judge overturned her first-degree murder conviction on the grounds that the prosecution failed to establish the baby’s injuries sustained during the kidnapping, which would have elevated the crime to aggravated and permitted a felony murder charge. In order to demonstrate to the jury how the infant would be hurt or in danger of dying, the Commonwealth was required to present expert testimony; but, it did not. However, the Court of Appeals disagreed.

“The victim, who was the mother of the baby, was killed, and the baby was removed from the victim’s womb, along with all of the victim’s reproductive organs, by someone without medical training. This was done at the crime scene itself, and obviously not in a sterile environment,” the opinion stated. “The jury were also told that the longer this loss continues, the more harm and danger there would be to the baby. We conclude that the loss of blood and oxygen, caused by the killing of the mother, presents a bodily injury to the fetus.”

Corey also requested a new trial, arguing that her lawyer had not contacted a cellphone location expert to provide information regarding her locations the night of the murder.

However, the SJC refused her request due to poor representation. The court decided that even if the attorney had done so, it probably would not have convinced the jury of her innocence.

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