Attorney Gerson negotiates homicide charge down to involuntary manslaughter
My client was a recent high school graduate in Allegheny County who was sexually inexperienced and became pregnant while involved in her first intimate relationship. Her parents were very strict and religious and, tragically, she could not reach out to them. In addition, she was too embarrassed to share her pregnancy with her boyfriend. Consequently, she hid her condition by gaining only 9lbs during the full-term pregnancy and isolating herself from family and friends. Alone in her bedroom during the middle of the night, and without uttering a sound, my client delivered the baby after 7-hours of labor. Physically and emotionally exhausted, she fell asleep. When she awoke several hours later the baby was dead. My client panicked, swaddled the baby in her high school tee-shirt, and placed the child in a trashcan liner before leaving it in a dumpster. The child’s body was ultimately discovered and, based on the high school tee-shirt, my client was arrested and charged with homicide, a first degree felony. The defense involved substantial research on the subject of infanticide. Retention of a psychologist to generate a report on the issue of whether my client was capable of forming the requisite intent or malice under her specific circumstances to justify a first or third degree murder charge was necessary. Based in part on the report, and my client’s life as a successful, productive, community-oriented individual, I was ultimately successful in negotiating a plea agreement involving one count of involuntary manslaughter, a first degree misdemeanor.