Julie Corey, who was found guilty last week of murdering a 23-year-old woman in 2009 and stealing her unborn child after cutting the baby from her womb, was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison.
After a two-week trial, a Worcester Superior Court jury found that Corey beat and strangled Darlene Haynes in her Worcester apartment before taking the baby.
Haynes, a former neighbor of Corey’s, was eight months pregnant.
Corey, 39, and her boyfriend were found with the baby a few days later at a homeless shelter in New Hampshire. Corey had told friends and relatives the child was hers, prosecutors said.
Corey received the mandatory sentence of life without parole after impact statements from several relatives were read aloud, including words from one of Haynes’s older children.
“I think it was mean to kill my mom,” the 9-year-old girl wrote. “I think it was very bad that you did that.”
Joann Haynes, Darlene Haynes’s grandmother, wrote that the day she learned Haynes had been killed “will forever haunt me.”
“Not a day goes by that I do not think about her,” she wrote. “My life will never be the same without her.”
Joann Haynes, who is raising Darlene Haynes’s two oldest children, wrote that there were no words to explain “the hurt we are all going through.”
“All these poor children know is that their mother is now in heaven,” she wrote. “What was once a happy family is now a family filled with pain and sadness.”
Darlene Haynes’s aunt, Sandra Grandmaison, described how she missed the “bonding time” she spent with Haynes, from walks on the beach to talks about everyday things.
“It’s been over four years and it’s not getting any easier,” she wrote. “Life with no parole would not bring Darlene back, but justice will have been served.”
Haynes’s cousin, Christina Grandmaison, recalled how close she and Haynes were growing up, and how she still thinks of her every day.
“She was the type of person who could keep a secret and never judge you,” she wrote. “Darlene was so loving and caring that I can’t understand how anyone would take her life.”
“It kills me knowing that all the things Darlene and I had planned to do together with our children will never get to happen,” she wrote.
Corey’s trial lasted 10 days. DNA evidence and a fingerprint on a liquor bottle tied Corey to the murder scene, prosecutors said, and tests showed that the baby girl was that of Haynes.
“It’s probably the most horrific case this office has ever seen,” District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. said in a prepared statement after last week’s verdict. “This woman was killed for her baby.”
The child, now 4, lives with her father.Peter Schworm can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globepete.