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Chateau woman jailed in US for dumping new born

Chateau woman jailed in US for dumping new born

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07.MAR.08

NEW YORK – A judge in New York has jailed a Chateaubelair-born woman for suffocating her baby boy

at birth then dumping his body in a trash bin at a Long Island Rail Road station.{{more}}

According to Newsday.com, Nassau County Judge George Peck last Thursday, February 28, sentenced Erma Stephens, a nanny, originally from the North Leeward town, to 3 1/3 to 10 years in prison for causing the baby’s death in November 2006.

Before sentencing Stephens, 34, Judge Peck described Stephens’ action as “barbaric.”

Prosecutors said she tossed the newly-born’s body in the bin at the Rail Road in Hicksville, Long Island.

Judge Peck found Stephens guilty of second-degree manslaughter and tampering with evidence. He acquitted her of second-degree murder.

Newsday.com said Stephens, who was convicted on November 19, 2007, could hardly control her emotions before sentencing.

“God knows my heart,” she sobbed and wailed.

“I’m not a bad person,” she added. “Please have mercy, your honour.”

Prosecutor Madeline Singas had asked the judge to impose the maximum sentence of 6 1/3 to 19 years in prison.

“The one person who should’ve been this baby’s voice silenced him forever,” she said.

Kenneth Montgomery, Stephens’ attorney in Brooklyn, is reported to have said that his client is a “compassionate woman” who, on the day of the baby’s death, became confused, panicked and “made wrong choices.”

Prosecutors said Stephens, a live-in nanny in Woodbury, Long Island, was embarrassed to have become pregnant out of wedlock and suffocated her baby shortly after birth.

She later placed the body in a shoe box and dumped it in the trash bin, they charged.

Judge Peck said he felt Stephens’ decision to dump the baby “was an afterthought and not part of a continuous malevolent scheme.”

“There was little evidence that she murdered her newborn, but it was clear she failed to properly care for him, causing the death,” Peck said.

Fedral Mason, Stephens’ pastor, originally from Rose Hall in North Leeward, who has been her religious guide for 20 years, reportedly described the ordeal as “shocking.”

He said she has a sister who lives in Nassau Country, Long Island, who did not attend the trial. Most of Stephens’ family still lives at home.

“Maybe they are angry, maybe they don’t understand,” Mason told reporters.

“Her family has never experienced anything like this,” he added.

But Celeta Dickson, a native of Spring Village in North Leeward, said Stephens embarrassed the entire nation by her action.

“It’s shameful,” said Dickson, who lives in Brooklyn, in a Searchlight interview.

“She embarrassed the whole of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” she added.

“It was a deliberate act. It was premeditated,” she continued. “That child could have grown up to become a lawyer, a president, or someone good.”

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