Woman accused of leaving newborn in Northampton Co. toilet will go to trial
Updated On: Oct 28 2013 04:23:27 PM CDT
Amanda Hein stepped out for a smoke, then headed back to the bar to watch another hour of wrestling on TV with three friends on Aug. 19.
Minutes earlier, the Allentown woman gave birth in the restroom of the sports bar to a baby boy, who was found the next day by cleaning crews in a toilet, suffocated, two prosecution witnesses testified Monday at Hein's preliminary hearing.
Hein, 27, of the 700 block of North 7th Street, Allentown, sat through much of the 90-minute hearing hunched over the defense table, her shoulders sagging in her red prison jump suit, her eyes apparently closed, never looking at James Connell, the Lower Saucon police officer who interviewed her after cleaning crews found her baby stuffed in a plastic garbage bag inside a malfunctioning toilet at Starters Pub on Route 378.
The prosecution's other witness, Northampton County Coroner Zachary Lysek, said Hein's son was suffocated. The baby was in its 30 to 36 weeks of gestation and capable of living outside the womb, he said.
Hein admitted she had a baby in the bathroom after stepping into the women's restroom on the night of Aug. 18, Connell said. Hein did not provide much detail on the birth other than to say she and her three friends had ordered food that night and she began to feel sick, suffering back pains.
"She said she thought the baby was alive," Connell said.
After disposing of the body, Hein told police said she "went out for a cigarette and went back to watch the rest of the wrestling match," Connell said. Blood was later discovered in booth #7 where Hein and her friends had a table reserved to watch the pay-for-view match. Police later identified who had been at that booth and determined that Hein was the only woman in the party of four.
Additional blood was found in the bathroom, as well as a trail near the bathroom. Hein told the officer she was "scared" and had "thought about suicide."
Hein told the police officer she had not told anyone she was pregnant, which she learned during a hospital visit in May or June at Lehigh Valley Hospital, 17th and Chew streets in Allentown.
Hein's interview with the officer was videotaped, Connell told Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli.
Hein was upset, crying and at one point was screaming during the interview, Connell said.
Hein was charged with one count of homicide and since her arrest has been held without bail in Northampton County Prison.
District Judge David Tidd ruled Morganelli had produced enough evidence to send the case to Northampton County Court for further court action, possibly a guilty plea or a trial.
If Hein is convicted at a trial, Morganelli has said she may face the death penalty because of the baby's age.
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