Mom Who Had 3 Dead Newborns Hidden in Her Closet Is Acquitted of Murder


ABC 7

In a tragic case that has haunted the city of Blackstone, Massachusetts, a 35-year-old mother has been acquitted of second-degree murder after the bodies of three newborns were found in her home.

  • Erika Murray was arrested in 2014 after police searched her home and discovered the hidden remains of three infants.

    Her home was filled with rodents, dead animals, dirty diapers, and trash.

    According to authorities, two of the babies were wearing diapers and clothing while the third still had the placenta attached. The bodies were stashed away in cardboard boxes inside closets.

    Murray was found guilty of lesser charges of animal cruelty and assault and battery on a child. She is in custody while awaiting sentencing July 11. She faces up to 20 years in jail.

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  • At the time of her arrest, police also removed four children living at the home: a 10-year-old boy and 13-year-old, 3-year-old and 6-month-old girls.

    In defending her verdict, Judge Janet Kenton-Walker said that prosecutors had failed to prove that Murray had caused the death of one of the babies she was charged with killing.

  • Although the judge called the case a “senseless, tragic story about a dysfunctional parent,” she said she had to put her emotions aside in favor of the evidence.

    ”Regardless of how disturbing the facts surrounding this case are to the community at large and to me as a parent, I cannot take into account those feelings," Kenton-Walker said.

    Murray was initially charged with only two of the babies’ deaths, and the judge subsequently dropped one of those murder counts because she said prosecutors failed to prove that one of the babies was born alive.

    The situation at Murray’s home first came to light when the 10-year-old boy who lived in the house asked a neighbor for help to get one of the babies to stop crying.

  • When the neighbor went to the home, she found the baby alone on a bed and covered with feces.

    Metro identified the neighbor as Betsy Brown, and indicated that she was the first witness to testify at Murray’s trial.

    “Dirty diapers, lots of dirty diapers, baby bottles, maggots everywhere. It was really dark and hot. It was horrible,” she said.

    “You really couldn’t see a floor. It was more like just walking on top of stuff trying to get to other stuff ... horrible rotting food, dirty diapers. It was horrible. It was the worst smell I’ve ever smelled.” 

    In court records disclosed by People, Murray allegedly told investigators that she believed she and her boyfriend, Raymond Rivera, could not afford to care for more children.

    Rivera has pleaded not guilty to charges of assault and battery on a child and reckless endangerment of a child. He is awaiting trial.

  • Murray’s lawyer, Keith Halpern, defended his client by saying she was mentally ill. 

    He suggested the babies could have been stillborn and not murdered, according to ABC 7

    "She is obviously mentally ill or she wouldn't be living in those circumstances," he said.

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