EASTON, PA, April 15, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Pennsylvania woman who gave birth to her son in a pub bathroom, smothered him, put him in a plastic bag, and then placed him in a toilet tank was found guilty of first-degree murder by a jury Thursday. She will live the rest of her life in prison without the chance of parole.
Amanda Hein, 27, pleaded guilty last month to killing her son who was born alive on August 18, 2013, in a bathroom stall at Starter’s Pub in Lower Saucon Township, PA.
That night, Amanda was out with three male friends, the Morning Call reported at the time. At one point, while watching wrestling on the TV, Hein went into labor and quietly excused herself to use the bathroom.
She was gone for 40 minutes, ignoring concerned texts from her companions. In that time, she labored and delivered her baby and then smothered him, finally wrapping him in a plastic bag and put him in the tank of one of the toilets, according to prosecutors.
When she returned, her comrades noticed her clothing was stained with blood and expressed their worry for her. She dismissed their concern and went outside for a cigarette. She then returned to watch the wrestling match, even as she bled at the booth.
The late night cleaning crew discovered the body the next morning while investigating why the toilet was not working properly. They called an ambulance, but cancelled it once they realized the baby was already dead.
Investigators were able to track down Hein primarily because of the large amounts of blood on the booth at which she sat.
Hein found out she was pregnant in May or June, and kept her pregnancy a secret from everyone she knew, according to court documents. Even the men with her that night were not aware of her condition. She was about 33-36 weeks along, and the later autopsy revealed that the baby was born alive and healthy and would have survived.
Why Hein killed her son was a mystery to Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli. At a news conference he expressed his distress and bewilderment.
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“Why, I don't know. But the criminal justice system does have to protect everyone. … Whether it was one hour or 10 minutes old or a year old, it is a person, and this person's life was taken. … I cannot get inside this lady's head. I have no clue.”
Hein’s defense claimed that she thought she was only about three months along at the time of the murder. Thinking the baby was already dead, she panicked and wrapped him in a plastic bag found in the stall, disposing of the body in the toilet. However, the prosecution maintained that Hein fully intended to kill her son.
Morganelli pointed out that since Hein did not disclose her pregnancy to anyone, did not respond to her friends’ texts for 40 minutes, did not call for help in any way, and returned to watch the wrestling match as if nothing had happened suggested full knowledge and intent.
“If she didn't intend death, she would have called for help, to help her little baby live,” Morganelli told the jury in his closing arguments, the Morning Call reports.
This shocking crime has disturbed those who were connected with the incident.
The pub owner, David Rank, was shaken and “very emotional,” according to the Express-Times.
“Trying to remain strong at this point is not easy,” he said. “My biggest concern is the employees, the mother and the baby. … Pray for the mother and the baby until we find out exactly what's going on. You don't know. You just don't know.”
Rank said that the discovery of the baby’s body was “tough to hear” and his voice cracked as he talked about the incident.
“I'm a fairly religious guy, unbeknownst to most people,” Rank said. “I've been on the phone with the police and I've been on the phone with my church.”
Louiseann Hein, Amanda’s stepmother, sobbed and gripped her hand over her mouth when she heard of the murder charges. According to the National Right to Life News, Louiseann did not know her stepdaughter was expecting, but recalled she had seen a Planned Parenthood letter addressed to her.
“I told her she always had a home here,” Louiseann Hein told the Morning Call. “We would make room. Would find a way.”