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Orange County News For Immediate Release Contact: Christopher BorekFebruary 19, 2020 845.291.3276, 845.238.4245c
District Attorney David M. Hoovler and City of Port Jervis
Police Chief William J. Worden Announce Murder
Charges in Death of Newborn
Mother Charged with Murder in the Second Degree for
Killing Newborn by Abandoning her in Vacant Lot
Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler and Chief William J. Worden of the City of Port Jervis Police Department, announced at a press conference held on Wednesday, February 19, 2020, that Nicole H. Layman, 22, of Port Jervis was arrested by Detectives of the City of Port Jervis Police Department, and charged with one count of Murder in the Second Degree, in connection with the death of a newborn infant found in a vacant lot. Layman was remanded to the Orange County Jail.
On the night of November 12, 2019, City of Port Jervis Police Officers responded to a report of a deceased infant found in a vacant lot adjacent to Hornbeck Avenue, in the City of Port Jervis. Upon their arrival police officers observed the body of a newborn baby. Subsequent investigation revealed that the baby girl had been born that night and had died of exposure to the elements, when left in freezing cold conditions in the vacant lot.
An investigation was conducted by the City of Port Jervis Police Department, who were aided by the New York State Police, the Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. The investigation included executing a search warrant at Layman’s residence, conducting an autopsy on the deceased infant, and obtaining laboratory analysis of tissue samples obtained during the autopsy. Layman was arrested on the evening of February 18, 2020 and charged with one count of Murder in the Second Degree, in violation of Penal Law Section 125.25 (4). That section states that a person is guilty of Murder in the Second Degree when, under circumstances evincing a depraved indifference to human life, and being eighteen years old or more, the defendant recklessly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of serious physical injury or death to another person less than eleven years old and thereby causes the death of such person.
It is alleged that the child had been born alive and that Layman abandoned the baby, in freezing cold temperatures in the vacant lot, where the baby died of exposure.
District Attorney Hoovler announced that the matter will be placed before an Orange County Grand Jury. Layman is next scheduled to appear in the City Port Jervis Court on February 24, 2020.
Layman faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in state prison on the charge of Murder in the Second Degree.
District Attorney Hoovler thanked the City of Port Jervis Police Department, for their investigation and the arrest of Layman, as well as the New York State Police and the Office of the Orange County Medical Examiner, who assisted in the investigation.
Chief William J. Worden said, “The members of the Port Jervis Police Department and our partners at the State Police, the District Attorney’s Office and the Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office have worked collaboratively and diligently throughout this difficult investigation that led to last evening’s arrest of the defendant to ensure that a thorough case was presented to bring justice for baby Sophia Grace Hadden. The grave nature of the crime for which the defendant is accused has emotionally touched all involved in this investigation and our community at large. I ask for the public to keep baby Sophia Grace Hadden, all who have been directly impacted by her tragic death and our community at large in their thoughts and prayers”.
“Infants are the most innocent of victims,” said District Attorney David Hoovler. “It is hard to comprehend what could drive any mother to kill her own baby by abandoning her in freezing cold conditions in a vacant lot. I am grateful to the City of Port Jervis Police Department for their tireless actions in pursuing this investigation. Help is available within Orange County for those who believe they are unable to care for their children. Consigning an infant to die of exposure is unnecessary, illegal, and barbaric. My Office will continue to work with all our law enforcement partners to protect infants and children.”
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Christopher Kelly and Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Kontos.
This criminal charge is merely an allegation that a defendant has committed a violation of the criminal law, and it is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the State of New York’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.