A judge has dropped a murder charge against the house of horrors mom, telling a courtroom there was no evidence her baby was born alive after the remains of three infants were found inside her squalid home.
Erika Murray, 35, had been charged over the deaths of two of the three dead babies found in the trash-strewn and insect-infested Blackstone home in 2014.
But Judge Janet Kenton-Walker Tuesday dismissed one of the two second degree murder charges, saying: ‘There is no evidence here that that baby was alive, and therefore it could not have been a victim of a homicide without some evidence.’
It came after Murray’s attorney Keith Halpern argued prosecutors had failed to present enough evidence to support any of the charges in the case, NBC Boston’s Alysha Palumbo reports.
She remained emotionless as the charge was dropped, Karyn Regal at WBZ reports.
Halpern said: ‘What we’re left with is a situation where the commonwealth’s case is built on odds. It’s built on the notion that really what are the chances she had three pregnancies in a row that resulted in dead babies, unless she did it.
‘That’s not evidence. It’s rampant speculation, that’s all it is.’
On Friday the court heard Murray admit at least one of those found dead had been born alive.
Murray continues to face charges including one count of second-degree murder, concealing a fetal death, assault and battery on a child causing substantial injury, reckless endangerment of a child and two counts of cruelty to animals.
A judge is deciding the case after Murray, who pleaded not guilty, waived her right to a jury.
The Massachusetts mother had laughed as she told investigators how she ‘didn’t even think’ of her dead babies.
She told investigators she ‘panicked’ when she gave birth to a stillborn baby – despite earlier denying having any more children than the four living youngsters found at the home.
And Murray, who was pictured crying in court Friday, later admitted to not ‘even think about’ her two other deceased children.
The four living children, ranging from five months to 13-years-old, were removed from the home, which was eventually torn down.
A taped recording of her first interview and a video of her second with trooper Shawn Murphy in September 2014 was played to the court Friday in which Murray initially insisted she had no other children, miscarriages, or stillbirths.
But when Murphy told her the skeletal remains of a child were found in a closet Murray was forced to admit she had a child previous to the three-year-old found living in filth, and that the baby was stillborn.
She told police she panicked and did not know the sex of the baby, adding: ‘I didn’t know what to think, they weren’t breathing, they weren’t alive.
‘I didn’t feel a heartbeat. I wasn’t thinking. I felt like I was in this all by myself. I didn’t know who I could trust.’
Police then told Murray they found the remains of two more infants.
NBC Boston’s Alysha Palumbo reports that when probed if she knew when she had the other deceased children Murray replied: ‘I didn’t even think about them really.’
Her older children, who appeared to have maggots in their ears, did not realize the two younger ones were their siblings a judge was told.
Murray laughed when police asked if her boyfriend, Ray Rivera, was deaf after he did not notice there were babies in the house.
She added: ‘He started to question me recently and I just told him I was babysitting.’
In harrowing testimony she claims to have not told anyone about the younger living children because she ‘didn’t want to get into any more trouble’ and admitted that no one washed their clothes. Neither had any birth records, the court heard.
When probed as to why her younger children had not seen any doctor unlike their older siblings Murray replied: ‘I don’t know.’
She later claimed to have not told her boyfriend because she ‘was just nervous how he would react’.
Murray said she disposed of the placentas in trash and cut the umbilical cords with scissors.
The remains of one of the three infants found in the Massachusetts house of horrors case was discovered in a filthy onesie, another was wrapped in maggot-infested sweatpants and a third was kept in a cardboard box, a medical examiner testified Thursday.
Shocking images presented to the court showed the soiled clothing two of the babies were said to have been found in after being hidden in a closet.
Medical examiner Robert Welton, who performed autopsies on the dead children, described how he found the remains of three infants in horrifying circumstances on the third day of the trial.
On Wednesday she broke down in tears in a rare display after images of her children were projected to the court room.
But former Department of Children and Families investigator Catherine Francy testified Wednesday that Murray called her three-year-old child ‘it’ several times.
Dr Welton told a judge he saw the remains of the infant left in the cardboard box pulled from a closet by police. A second infant was also said to have been found in the same closet along with the remains of an animal.
In a second bedroom the remains of a third child were also found, Dr Welton said.
One child appeared to wrapped in sweatpants, another was wearing a filthy onesie and a diaper.
The third was found wearing ‘infantwear’ for an infant eight to 11 pounds and a jacket and was kept in the cardboard box, he said.
Neighbors say the property was full of ‘dirty diapers, fleas and maggots’ and images from the house show piles of trash filling rooms and squalid conditions.
‘I was never an overly neat person’, Murray told police in a 2014 interview played to the court Friday.
Murray’s attorney had already raised the possibility that the children were stillborn and therefore not murdered.
Halpern said Murray has mental health issues which contributed to the condition of the home.
He said she did not call law enforcement after the deaths as she panicked, according to reports.
Ramon Rivera, 39, the children’s father and Murray’s live-in boyfriend, is also said to be facing child abuse charges in a separate proceeding.