WORCESTER — Jurors in the case of a Massachusetts woman charged with killing her pregnant friend and cutting the baby from her womb went home for the day without reaching a verdict.
Closing arguments were held Tuesday morning in the murder trial of Julie Corey of Worcester. She is accused of killing Darlene Haynes, who was eight months pregnant, and taking her baby daughter. The girl survived, and Corey told her boyfriend the baby was theirs.
Corey’s lawyer argued police did shoddy work and Haynes could have been killed by her former boyfriend.
Jurors heard the case around lunchtime. They told the judge in the afternoon that they wanted to go home for the day. They have asked to see DVDs of police interviews when they return Wednesday morning.
In his closing arguments, defense lawyer Louis P. Aloise offered the theory that Haynes was killed by her former boyfriend, who then cut out the baby and gave the child to Corey and her boyfriend.
Corey, her boyfriend, and the baby were found at a homeless shelter in Plymouth, N.H. The girl, now 4, is living with her biological father.
Prosecutor Daniel J. Bennett dismissed the defense’s theory as a fantasy.
Aloise did not deny that the victim’s baby was found with Corey, 39. But he said the slaying, which involved multiple blows to the head and strangulation with a lamp cord, was “a personal crime” committed because the former boyfriend did not want to be responsible for her or the child.
“He had had it with Darlene Haynes,” Aloise said.
Aloise also said police failed to follow up on witness statements that several men were seen in and around Haynes’s home around the time of the killing.
The police also failed to test multiple objects for DNA, he said, and did not dust thoroughly for fingerprints. Aloise also argued that the police had not conducted a thorough search for the weapons used to beat and cut Haynes or for her reproductive organs, which were never found.
“Unfortunately, they left a lot of stones unturned,” he said.
In his closing arguments, Bennett painted a picture of Corey as a desperate woman who needed a baby in order to keep her boyfriend and her government benefits. Corey had a miscarriage, Bennett said, but pretended she was still pregnant. She told friends and her boyfriend that she was scheduled for a caesarean section on July 24, the day authorities believe Haynes, 23, died, the prosecutor said.
Bennett, pointing to evidence that Corey had been in Haynes’s apartment the night of the killing, contended that Corey had befriended and deceived a vulnerable Haynes in order to steal her baby. The two went to the same clinic for prenatal care.
“Julie Corey could not have cared less how much Darlene Haynes suffered,” Bennett told the jury. “She just wanted that baby out of her, and she needed her dead.”
Corey is charged with first-degree murder, and Bennett offered the jury three theories, each of which would satisfy the requirements of that charge.
The first was that the murder was deliberate and premeditated, the second that it involved “extreme atrocity and cruelty,” and the third that it was committed in the course of felony kidnapping, a crime that risked the life of the baby. Corey was not charged separately with kidnapping.