Woman accused of tossing newborn to death held without bail
New York — A woman believed to have given birth in the bathroom of her boyfriend’s apartment before tossing her newborn daughter to her death from a seventh-story window was being held without bail Wednesday on a murder charge, police and prosecutors said.
Jennifer Berry, 33, appeared in a Bronx courtroom late Tuesday and was also charged with manslaughter in the death of the girl. Officials said she concealed the final stage of her pregnancy from friends and family, telling some she miscarried much earlier on. The boyfriend, who was home when the baby plunged from the window, told police he did not know she was pregnant.
The attorney who represented Berry at her arraignment did not return a call seeking comment.
Berry, who lives in Yonkers, initially denied to police that she was pregnant before saying she had given birth in the shower, authorities said. She said the newborn wasn’t breathing when she threw the baby — and the placenta — from the window, police said.
But prosecutors say she knew the baby was alive when she threw her, umbilical cord still attached, into the alley below. The medical examiner said the baby died from blunt force trauma in the fall, meaning she was born alive.
Assistant District Attorney Georgia Barker said the baby weighed 8 pounds — the weight of a full-term newborn.
“There was air in the lungs. This was a healthy baby girl,” Barker said in court, according to the Daily News of New York.
The baby was covered in blood when found by the superintendent’s wife, who was cleaning. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Berry’s boyfriend told police he was in another room when the baby was born. He told investigators he didn’t realize that his girlfriend had given birth or that the baby had plunged from the window.
The city’s Administration for Children’s Services is investigating the circumstances that led to the baby’s death, a spokesman said. Authorities said privacy laws prohibited the agency from commenting on whether child welfare investigators had interacted with the family before.
Berry briefly worked for the child welfare agency from July 2007 until January 2008. The first three months were in classroom-style training, and the rest of the time was spent as a trainee and had limited interaction with families. It’s not clear why she stopped working there.
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