WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — The case of a woman charged with killing her pregnant friend, cutting the baby from her womb and passing the infant off as her own went to a jury Tuesday.
Prosecutors say Julie Corey killed Darlene Haynes, who was eight months pregnant, then made an incision in Haynes' abdomen and took her baby in July 2009. The baby girl survived, and Corey told her boyfriend the baby was theirs.
In his closing arguments, defense attorney Louis P. Aloise offered a theory that Haynes was actually killed by her ex-boyfriend, who then cut out the baby and gave her to Corey and her boyfriend. Corey, her boyfriend and the baby were found at a homeless shelter in Plymouth, N.H. The girl, now 4, is living with her biological father.
Prosecutor Daniel J. Bennett dismissed the defense's theory as a fantasy.
Jurors got the case around lunchtime Tuesday and went home at 4 p.m. without reaching a verdict. When they return Wednesday, they'll watch DVDs of police interviews they asked to see.
Aloise did not deny that the victim's baby was found with the 39-year-old Corey. But he said the slaying, which involved multiple blows to the head and strangulation with a lamp cord, was "a personal crime" committed because the ex-boyfriend did not want to be responsible for her or the child.
"He had had it with Darlene Haynes," Aloise said.
Aloise also said police failed to follow up on witness statements that several men were seen in and around Haynes' home around the time of the killing. The police also failed to test multiple objects for DNA, he said, and they did not dust thoroughly for fingerprints. Aloise also argued that the police had not conducted a thorough search for the weapons used to beat and slice Haynes or for her reproductive organs, which were never found.
"Unfortunately, they left a lot of stones unturned," he said.
In his closing arguments, Bennett painted a picture of Corey as a desperate woman who needed a baby in order to keep her boyfriend and her government benefits. Corey had suffered a miscarriage, Bennett said, but pretended she was still pregnant. She told friends and her boyfriend that she was scheduled for a cesarean section on July 24, the day authorities believe the 23-year-old Haynes died, the prosecutor said.
Bennett, pointing to evidence that Corey had been in Haynes' apartment the night of the killing, argued that Corey had befriended and deceived a vulnerable Haynes in order to steal her baby. The two went to the same clinic for prenatal care.
"Julie Corey could not have cared less how much Darlene Haynes suffered," Bennett told the jury. "She just wanted that baby out of her, and she needed her dead."
Corey is charged with first-degree murder, and Bennett offered the jury three theories, each of which would satisfy the requirements of that charge. The first was that the murder was deliberate and premeditated, the second that it involved "extreme atrocity and cruelty," and the third that it was committed in the course of felony kidnapping, a crime that risked the life of the baby. Corey was not charged separately with kidnapping.