Woman Who Killed Neighbor and Ripped Baby From Her Womb Finally Convicted for First-degree Murder by Court

The highest court in Massachusetts reinstated a woman’s first-degree murder conviction for killing her former neighbor and cutting her open in 2009 in order to steal her baby.

In 2014, a jury convicted Julie Corey of first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping of Darlene Haynes, aged 23. Five years later, her felony murder conviction was overturned, with a judge ruling that there was insufficient evidence to indicate she committed aggravated kidnapping during the slaying. Corey also filed an appeal for a fresh trial, claiming that her counsel was inefficient, but it was denied.

On Monday, the Supreme Judicial Court overturned the lower court’s decision and reinstated the first-degree murder convictions.

Haynes’ landlord entered the Worchester apartment on July 27, 2009, due to concerns about her dogs.

When the landlord entered the apartment, he smelled a “very foul” odor. He entered a bedroom closet and tugged on a blanket when a “leg fell out.” Haynes, who was eight months pregnant at the time of her death, had an electrical line around her neck and a nine-inch incision in her abdomen. The baby was gone.

An autopsy found that she died from blunt force injuries and strangling.

The investigation led to Corey, who was expecting but had recently miscarried, despite telling her partner and others that the baby was still on its way. Corey and Haynes had been neighbors briefly the previous year.

Prosecutors portrayed Corey as a disturbed woman wanting to have a child because her partner would leave their relationship and she would lose her benefits if she did not become a new mother. They claim Corey devised a plan to assist Haynes, but instead killed her, sliced her open, and abducted her baby girl, who survived the ordeal.

Corey pretended to have given birth to the girl, showing her to her boyfriend and taking her to doctor’s appointments. Investigators discovered a forged birth certificate in her boyfriend’s car.

Her case at trial was that the police did not do a thorough investigation and suspected Haynes’ boyfriend of the murder because he had previously been aggressive with her and another woman. Haynes’ defense claimed that after killing the deceased, her boyfriend turned up the infant to Corey.

The jury sided with the prosecution and convicted Corey of first-degree murder. She was condemned to life in prison.

The lower court judge overturned her first-degree murder conviction, stating that the prosecution failed to prove that the baby was wounded during the kidnapping, which elevates the offense to aggravated and allows for a felony murder penalty.

The Commonwealth should have provided expert testimony to illustrate to the jury how the infant would be damaged or killed, but it did not. However, the Supreme Judicial Court disagreed.

“The victim, the baby’s mother, was killed, and the baby was removed from the victim’s womb, along with all of the victim’s reproductive organs, by someone who had no medical training. This was done at the crime scene, and clearly not in a sanitary setting,” the decision stated.

“The jury was also informed that the longer this loss continues, the greater the harm and danger to the fetus. We determine that the fetus suffers bodily harm as a result of the mother’s death.

The SJC also refused Corey’s plea for a new trial based on inadequate counsel, which she said occurred because her lawyer did not contact a cellphone location expert to detail her whereabouts on the night of the murder. Even if the counsel had done so, the justices determined that it was unlikely to persuade the jury to find her innocent.

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