A Massachusetts woman was found guilty Wednesday in the first-degree murder of her pregnant friend, whom she beat and strangled before cutting the baby from the victim’s womb.
Julie Corey, who was 35 at the time of the crime, was convicted in Worcester Superior Court in the 2009 slaying of Darlene Haynes, 23, in Worcester. The jurors had deliberated for 10 hours over two days. As the verdict was read, Corey cried and placed her hands over her face.
Haynes’ body was found in a closet in her apartment on July 27, 2009. Haynes had been beaten around the head and strangled with an electrical cord. Her abdomen had been cut open, and her baby was gone. She was eight months pregnant at the time of her death.
Days after the murder, Haynes’ baby was found with Corey in New Hampshire. DNA evidence and a fingerprint on a bottle at the crime scene connect Corey to the killing, the District’s attorney’s office said. Prosecutors also told the jury that Corey has been pregnant, too, but had a miscarriage three months earlier and told her boyfriend and family that Haynes’ baby was her own.
Corey’s lawyers contended that police failed to follow up on leads that could have implicated other potential suspects in the killing, including Haynes’ ex-boyfriend. They also suggested that Haynes’ ex-boyfriend had given Corey and her boyfriend, Alex Dion, the baby. Dion denied that on the witness stand.
Defense lawyer Michael Wilcox said he was disappointed with the verdict, but not surprised. He said they plan to appeal.
“We were aware of the evidence against her,” Wilcox said, adding that the facts alone in the case were difficult to discuss. “We worked very hard to present the jury with a different picture, but we weren’t ultimately successful.”
Dion testified that Corey, who he believed was pregnant at the time, called him on July 23, 2009 and told him she was giving Haynes a ride to a store. Later that night, Corey called him to say her water had broken and a friend was taking her to the hospital to give birth, Dion Said.
A couple of hours later, Corey called him again and said, “We had a baby.” Dion testified. Dion said Corey arrived home the next morning with a baby girl he believed was his daughter.
The child, now 4, lives with her biological father.
“It’s probably the most horrific case this office has seen,” Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. said. “This woman was killed for her baby.”