Psychiatric exam for mom accused of throwing baby out window

AP News
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Posted: Oct 16, 2015 6:12 PM
Psychiatric exam for mom accused of throwing baby out window

NEW YORK (AP) — A judge ordered a psychiatric evaluation Friday for a mother charged with murder after witnesses described a horrifying scene where the woman threw her naked baby girl from a sixth-floor window as they begged her not to.

Tenisha Fearon appeared in a New York courtroom where she was arraigned and held without bail. Judge Kim Wilson also ordered medical attention for Fearon and protective custody.

Fearon's attorney, representing her for arraignment only, asked that she be placed in protective custody only if necessary because he did not want her to be "isolated." The lawyer didn't immediately return a message seeking comment.

It was the third time in three months a mother had been accused of throwing her infant from a window in New York City.

Fearon, dressed in a gray sweatshirt and leggings, was quiet throughout the hearing.

Assistant District Attorney Rene Aponte said 6-month-old Jahnyla Lawrence was naked and alive in the Bronx apartment when she was dropped out of the window as Fearon's three other children watched in horror. Neighbor Lizette Rodriguez said the woman had been shouting, "I'm going to throw her. We're all gonna die!" Other neighbors shouted to the woman, "Don't do it," Rodrgiuez said.

Rodriguez called 911 and said she heard the baby hit the ground while she was on the phone. Prosecutors say the baby died from blunt force trauma.

Officers had to take down the apartment door because Fearon wouldn't open it, police said.

Pauline Bryan, who knows Fearon from the neighborhood, said she had just seen her on Tuesday outside the building.

"She never told me she had problems," Bryan said. "She's not a mother like that. May God help her."

The city's child welfare agency, the Administration for Children's Services, said it was investigating and was working to ensure the well-being of the three other children.

Fearon ran a family daycare center from her Bronx apartment from 2013 until April. A spokesman for the New York State Office of Children and Family Services said the daycare never had any complaints or violations and closed after Fearon did not apply to renew her license.

Last month, a newborn girl with her umbilical cord attached was found dead outside an apartment building in the University Heights section of the borough. Authorities arrested her mother on murder and manslaughter charges, saying she hid her pregnancy and threw the child to her death from a seventh-story window shortly after giving birth.

Investigators are also probing the death of another one of her children, initially believed to have died from sudden infant death syndrome.

In August, police arrested a Queens woman in connection with the death of her 1-month-old son. According to court papers, she told authorities an evil spirit had possessed the boy and she was "stopping the pain" when she threw him from a fourth-floor window.

Both women have pleaded not guilty.

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Associated Press Writer Michael Balsamo contributed to this report.

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This story has been corrected to show the spelling of the girl's name is Jahnyla, not Janillah, based on updated information from prosecutors.