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Trial nears for mother accused of killing newborn

Chuck Biedka
| Monday, March 17, 2008

A meeting next month between a Buffalo Township woman's attorney and prosecutors might clear the way for trial for Lauren Elizabeth Jones, who is accused of killing her newborn daughter in February 2007.

Jones, 25, of Monroe Road is charged with homicide. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Judge Timothy F. McCune has instructed public defender Kevin Flaherty and Assistant District Attorney B.T. Fullerton to be prepared on April 7 to discuss any outstanding issues that need to be resolved before he can schedule trial.

However, Flaherty said Thursday he might ask for that meeting to be delayed based on what his background investigation of Jones turns up.

According to state police, Jones said her newborn girl had no pulse or heartbeat and the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck when she was born Feb. 28, 2007 in the basement bedroom of a home Jones shared with her mother and stepfather.

But police said, when pressed, Jones later admitted grabbing a kitchen knife and stabbing the child in the throat "so that the baby wouldn't suffer."

The newborn's remains were found six days later when Jones' mother and a friend searched Jones' basement bedroom for the source of a foul odor.

They found the newborn's body wrapped inside a garbage bag in a book bag put under her bed.

An autopsy ruled the girl was born alive but died from hypoxia -- lack of oxygen -- likely because she was wrapped in the plastic garbage bag after birth. It's unclear if the newborn was alive when she was stabbed.

Authorities say Jones said she didn't realize that she was pregnant until she went into labor. She earlier had denied being pregnant, telling relatives that her abdomen was protruding due to a recurrence of ovarian cysts.

Jones gave the statement to Butler state police.

Her attorney tried to have that statement thrown out, but the judge recently ruled to allow it to be used.

Fullerton said he couldn't comment.

Flaherty said he had Jones interviewed by a psychiatrist, but he did not elaborate, nor is clear how that will figure in Jones' defense.

It's unclear if the prosecution will order its own psychiatric analysis.

Jones is being held without bail.

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