UK & World News
Mother Kills Newborn By Hiding Baby In Toilet
A woman has admitted killing her newborn baby after giving birth in a pub toilet - by wrapping the infant in a plastic bag and hiding him in a lavatory cistern.
Amanda Hein, 27, of Allentown, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to murder at a pre-trial hearing, which meant she escaped the threat of a death sentence.
A jury will now decide if she should be convicted of first-degree murder, which would carry a life prison term, or third-degree murder, which carries a maximum sentence of between 20 and 40 years.
Hein had been at Starters Pub in Lower Saucon Township, to watch a pay-per-view wrestling match last August, when she went into labour.
After giving birth she returned to her group of friends stained with blood, but refused to say what had happened and continued watching the TV for another hour before leaving.
Cleaners found the baby's body the following day when the toilet would not flush.
Defence attorney Michael Corriere said he would argue at trial the baby was suffering from an illness, leading his client to believe the infant had died.
He said Hein never had the specific intent to kill required for a first-degree murder conviction.
Prosecutors originally said they planned to seek the death penalty, but they agreed not to in exchange for her guilty plea.
Speaking after the hearing, Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli said the guilty plea meant a guaranteed conviction without a lengthy appeal process.
Mr Morganelli also said Hein's mental health issues would have made it difficult for her to be sentenced to death, and pointed out no Pennsylvania death row inmate has been executed in 15 years.
"Realistically, death penalties are not conferred in Pennsylvania," he said.