WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — A woman accused of killing her pregnant friend three months after her own miscarriage was convicted Wednesday of beating and strangling the friend, then cutting the baby from her womb and passing the child off as her daughter.
Julie Corey sobbed as a Worcester Superior Court jury found her guilty of the 2009 murder of 23-year-old Darlene Haynes. The jurors had deliberated for 10 hours over two days. Sentencing was scheduled for Tuesday.
Prosecutors said Haynes was eight months pregnant when Corey attacked her and cut the baby out of her body. They told the jury that Corey had been pregnant, too, but had a miscarriage three months earlier and told her boyfriend and family that Haynes' baby was her own.
"It's probably the most horrific case this office has ever seen in terms of facts," District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. said in a statement after the verdict was handed down. "This woman was killed for her baby."
Corey, 39, did not testify during the trial.
"I feel comfortable that justice was done for Darlene," Haynes' uncle, Karl Whitney, of Palmer, told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. He said he feels sorry for Corey's family. "I just can't imagine going through something like that with one of my children."
Corey's lawyers contended that police failed to follow up on leads that could have implicated other potential suspects in the killing, including Haynes' ex-boyfriend. They also suggested that Haynes' ex-boyfriend had given Corey and her boyfriend, Alex Dion, the baby. Dion denied that on the witness stand.
Defense lawyer Michael Wilcox said he was disappointed with the verdict, but not surprised. He said they plan to appeal.
"We were aware of the evidence against her," Wilcox said, adding that the facts alone in the case were difficult to discuss. "We worked very hard to present the jury with a different picture, but we weren't ultimately successful."