Massachusetts mother pleads not guilty to murdering her babies

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 29, 2014 3:22 PM

By Laila Kearney

(Reuters) - A 31-year-old woman found living with the remains of three babies in a squalid Massachusetts home she shared with her boyfriend and other children pleaded not guilty on Monday to murder and other crimes, prosecutors said.

Erika Murray has been charged with murdering two of the infants and illegally concealing a stillborn baby. In August, authorities on a child welfare call found the bodies while searching her house, in Blackstone, some 40 miles southwest of Boston.

Murray, who on Monday was also denied bail, tried to conceal the infants from her boyfriend, Raymond Rivera, 38, by giving birth alone in the home's bathroom and hiding the newborn bodies in trash, Worcester District Attorney's spokesman Paul Jarvey said.

He has been charged with seven criminal counts, including assault and battery on a child causing substantial bodily injury.

Four other children, ranging in age from three months to 13 years, were also living in the home where the infant bodies were found. They have been taken into state custody.

A medical examiner's autopsy report on the infants has not been released.

Murray's lawyer, Keith Halpern, said without the report, there is not enough evidence to charge her with murder since it is not yet known how or when the children died. The case has been built largely on statements Murray gave to police, he added.

Murray also faces charges of assault and battery on a child, reckless endangerment of a child, and animal cruelty for the deaths of a cat and dog found in house.

She is scheduled for a pretrial hearing on Feb. 4. Rivera, who pleaded not guilty earlier this month, is being held on $100,000 bail. He is due for a pretrial hearing on Jan. 14.

(Reporting by Laila Kearney; EDiting by Steve Orlofsky)