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Tarentum mother cleared of trying to conceal death of baby

| Friday, June 28, 2013, 1:41 a.m.
James Victor and Nicole Dull hold their newborn baby, James Victor Jr., in an undated photo. A judge on Thursday found Dull, 32, not guilty of concealing the death of her son, who died in his sleep at 5 weeks old last August. Victor pleaded guilty in January. More serious charges against the couple were dropped.

A Tarentum woman is not guilty of concealing the death of her 5-week-old son, an Allegheny County judge ruled Thursday.

Attorney William Difenderfer said Judge Anthony M. Mariani agreed with his argument that the charge was intended for people who hide babies in Dumpsters, not his client, Nicole Dull, 32.

The Allegheny County District Attorney's Office did not comment on the judge's ruling.

The newborn's father, James Victor, 52, of West Deer pleaded guilty to concealing his son's death and received a year of probation last January.

Victor and Dull found the baby dead in his crib last Aug. 15, according to a criminal complaint filed by Allegheny County police.

The baby died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, according to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office. After his death, the couple drove with the baby's corpse to an Avalon hotel where they tried to commit suicide. They were distraught and fearful they would be blamed for his death.

The couple then drove to a Butler County hotel, where police found them and their son's body — by then dead for three days. He was tucked in an infant carrier.

Allegheny County police originally charged the couple with abuse of a corpse, concealing the death of a child and criminal conspiracy. The abuse and conspiracy charges later were withdrawn.

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