ALLENTOWN — A Pennsylvania woman has been sentenced to life behind bars without the possibility of parole after being found guilty of intentionally killing her newborn son last year.
As previously reported, 26-year-old Amanda Hein had accompanied three male acquaintances to Starters Pub in Bethlehem last August to watch a pay-per-view wresting match. During the event, the woman began to complain of back pain and discomfort, and excused herself to go to the restroom.
The men with her stated that she was gone for “an extended period of time,” and reports outline that she ignored texts asking her what was wrong.
Hein is believed to have delivered in a stall in the women’s restroom and then wrapped the boy in a plastic garbage bag that she found nearby. She then placed the bag inside of the toilet tank and walked away.
When she returned to the booth, reports state that she grabbed her purse and went outside to smoke a cigarette. She then returned and watched the rest of the wrestling match with the men.
When the cleaning crew had difficulty flushing the toilet the following morning, they lifted the lid on the tank and saw the garbage bag inside, which contained a now-deceased baby boy.
“I’ve been on the phone with the police, and I’ve been on the phone with my church,” bar owner Dave Rank told the Morning Call following the incident. “I mean, this is a devastating thing.”
After finding what appeared to be a blood stain on one of the booths, the pub contacted the man who reserved the seats, Luis Rivera, who said that he offered to take Hein to the hospital when she complained of being in pain, but she refused. He noted that he did see what appeared to be blood on her clothing.
An autopsy revealed that the baby was born alive, and was approximately 33 to 36 weeks in gestation. The medical examiner declared that the child died by suffocation.
Hein plead guilty to murder last month as part of a plea deal, but the case went to a jury trial to determine whether Hein committed murder in the first or third degree—that is intentionally or recklessly.
“Nobody goes to a Starters bathroom to give birth if you’re pregnant,” defense attorney Michael Corriere told the jury last week, asserting that Hein had no intent to kill her son, but thought he was already dead. “This is a surprise and a panicked reaction.”
However, District Attorney John Morganelli argued that Hein was fully aware of her actions, stating that she could have cried out for others to help her, rather than stuffing her child in the toilet.
“If she didn’t intend death, she would have called for help, to help her little baby live,” he said.
At the conclusion of the trial on Thursday, the jury found Hein guilty of first-degree murder, to which Judge Paula Roscioli immediately sentenced her to life in prison without parole.
Morganelli said that he was satisfied with the decision.
“[T]he criminal justice system does have to protect everyone,” he stated. “Whether it was one hour or 10 minutes old or a year old, it is a person, and this person’s life was taken.”