Wall woman held in abandonment case
Jennifer Cutruzzula says she is sorry for abandoning her 8-month-old daughter in a wooded area of Wall on a rainy night last month.
“I went back and tried to help my baby,” Cutruzzula, 24, told reporters on Thursday as she entered a North Versailles Township courtroom for a preliminary hearing.
Magisterial District Judge Robert L. Barner held Cutruzzula for trial on all counts and scheduled a formal arraignment for April 24 at 1 p.m. at the county courthouse.
“She left the baby out there to die,” Allegheny County assistant district attorney Brian Catanzarite argued as he added a charge of criminal attempt-homicide to counts of endangering the welfare of children and recklessly endangering another person.
“The prima facie (case) has not been established,” public defender Hannah Akintoye retorted at the hearing, where an East McKeesport police officer and another witness testified.
Akintoye said there was no evidence that “ongoing conduct” is endangering the child.
Andrew Wiser testified that on Feb. 27 he “noticed someone walking in the woods where no one usually walks up at all” and carrying what he thought was a package along Irwin Street in Wall.
He discovered it was a baby when he went to investigate, he said.
“I picked up the baby and I walked back down the hill,” Wiser said. “I gave the baby to my mother and she dried her off and put a blanket on her.”
Wiser's mother was in the courtroom but was not called to testify. East McKeesport police Officer Scott Lowden said Wiser, Wiser's mother and other neighbors were at the scene when Lowden arrived.
He saw Cutruzzula running down the hill “saying she had fallen and was trying to get some help.”
Lowden said that, except for her shoes, there was no mud on her.
In comments prior to the hearing, Cutruzzula acknowledged problems with relatives.
“She more or less said she was living with her mother and with her mother's boyfriend,” Lowden testified during the hearing.
The officer quoted Cutruzzula as saying she was moving in with a boyfriend “due to the harassment she was getting at home,” and that she wanted a fresh start “without the child.”
Two people identified as relatives of Cutruzzula were at Barner's court prior to the hearing, but declined comment.
“A lot of family members made fun of me,” Cutruzzula said. “If they had been there more, this wouldn't have happened.”
Barner returned Cutruzzula to the county jail, refusing Akintoye's plea to lower her $50,000 bond.
He also accepted Cutruzzula's guilty plea to retail theft charges for a Nov. 7 incident at the North Versailles Walmart. She had been scheduled to face a summary trial next week.
She earlier had gone before Barner to plead guilty to charges filed Nov. 2 for retail theft at the same store.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- McKeesport Area communications specialist develops mobile app
- Mon-Yough agencies providing services for the homeless to benefit from HUD funds
- Nonprofit helps police keep wanderers safe in Mon-Yough area
- Negotiator hopeful in East Allegheny teacher talks
- Liberty public servant Owens remembered as problem solver
- Propel teams up with local organizations to test performing arts methods
- 1 suspect arrested in deadly McKeesport shooting; 2nd still at large
- Sides meet for arbitration in East Allegheny teacher contract dispute
- Snow causes collisions, delays in Mon-Yough area
- Duquesne City School District receiver accepts $1.335M interest-free loan
- Attempted homicide charge dropped, others remain in Glassport stabbing