M&M Murder: Veronica Cirella Killed Her
Allergic Daughter With Peanut Chocolates, Cops Say
By Andy Campbell -
The Huffington Post
April 6, 2012
A New York mom is accused of killing her
daughter by feeding the little girl peanut M&Ms -- which she was
severely allergic to, cops said.
Veronica Cirella, 31, of Plainview, pleaded not
guilty Wednesday to second-degree murder in the death of her
8-year-old daughter Julie, who was found dead in her home on July
23 last year, CBS reported. The little girl, who had cerebral
palsy, was found just hours before she was to be a flower girl in
a cousin's wedding.
Cops found Cirella lying on the floor near her
daughter's body. She had allegedly tried to kill herself with a
cocktail of insulin injections and painkillers, and then attempted
to strangle herself with an electrical cord according to News One.
She also left a suicide note detailing the events leading up to
her daughter's death.
"I had to give her a better life, which was to
give her back to heaven," Cirella allegedly wrote. "She does not
deserve to be in pain whatsoever. I don't mind going to hell
because I took my life to give her a better life, which is in
heaven where she can be free."
Cirella reportedly gave the girl the M&Ms as a
treat for agreeing to participate in the wedding. Cops said that
she knew her daughter was allergic to peanuts, and claims that she
gave the girl a dose of Benadryl in order to counteract any
allergic reactions before Cirella went to sleep.
Cirella's mother-in-law, Dolores Cirella,
discovered the two when she checked in to see how the wedding
preparations were going.
Cirella faces a life sentence for the alleged
Mother 'murdered allergic disabled
8-year-old daughter by feeding her peanut M&Ms'
By Associated Press
April 5, 2012
A woman accused of feeding M&Ms that contained
traces of peanuts to her disabled and allergic eight-year-old
daughter pleaded not guilty today to an upgraded charge of
second-degree murder in the child's death.
Veronica Cirella, 31, of Plainview, New York,
was ordered held without bail in the July 23 death of her
daughter, Julie, who was found only hours before she was set to be
a flower girl in a cousin's wedding.
Cirella had previously been charged with
Attorney William Keahon implored the Nassau
County judge to release his client on bail, contending an autopsy
has failed to determine a cause of death. But the judge cited
Cirella's suicide attempt the day her daughter died and the fact
that Cirella is now facing a potential life sentence as reasons to
hold her in custody until her trial.
'I've never seen an indictment for murder,
intentional murder, where the medical examiner cannot even give a
causation of death, nor can he even say it's a homicide. It's
bizarre,' Keahon told reporters outside the Long Island
District Attorney Kathleen Rice released a
statement saying the grand jury heard from Cirella and several
witnesses before returning the indictment on the second-degree
'Every child's death arouses strong emotions,
but prosecutors must evaluate the evidence objectively, and
regardless of how difficult the defendant perceived her
circumstances to be, taking her daughter's life was unjustified,'
After Cirella's arrest last summer, Assistant
District Attorney Zeena Abdi said that Julie, who was diagnosed
with cerebral palsy as an infant and was confined to a wheelchair,
had suffered an allergic reaction to something she was fed.
'There was a certain protocol that should have
been followed as far as giving care for the allergy that she did
not take,' the prosecutor said at the time.
After discovering Julie had died, Cirella told
police that she attempted suicide by taking both injections of
insulin and drinking the medication, as well as taking an unknown
quantity of painkillers. She also told police she attempted to
strangle herself with an electrical cord. Cirella and her daughter
were found by Cirella's mother-in-law, Dolores Cirella, who also
lived in the Plainview home, when she checked on their
preparations for the wedding later that afternoon.
A suicide note written by Cirella, found in
court documents, indicates that the mother admitted feeding M&Ms
to her daughter the night before she died as a special treat for
her participation in the wedding the following day.
She says in the suicide note that when she
realized the child had eaten a product containing peanuts, which
she read on the candy's label, she administered liquid Benadryl to
counter the effects. She said the two eventually went to sleep and
she found the child dead early the following morning.
Cirella also alludes in the suicide note to
ongoing disputes with her now-estranged husband, Joseph, who had
been arrested earlier the same week of the wedding on charges of
violating an order of protection.
'Trust me things only would have gotten worse,'
Cirella writes in the note. 'I could not risk loosing [sic] my
daughter. I could not risk her being mistreated if he killed me.
No one could take care of her the way I could.'
Later in the note, she writes: 'I had to give
her a better life, which was to give her back to heaven. She does
not deserve to be in pain whatsoever. I don't mind going to hell
because I took my life to give her a better life which is in
heaven where she can be free.'
Keahon contended that Cirella's statements were
those of a distraught woman who believed she had accidentally
killed her daughter by feeding her the M&Ms. He also argued that
there was no evidence of peanuts found in the child's body after
The suicide note makes no mention of whether
Cirella knowingly fed the child something she knew would be
Several relatives and friends described Cirella
outside court as a caring, devoted mother.
'She would never hurt her, never, never,' her
mother-in-law, Dolores Cirella, said.
'She baby-sits for my grandson,' added
sister-in-law Joanne Cirella. 'If I ever thought she ever harmed
her daughter, I would never even let her near him. He's
2-years-old. She loves that boy to death.'
Mother in poisoning case out of jail
By Ann Givens - Newsday.com
September 7, 2011
A Plainview woman who prosecutors said poisoned
her disabled 8-year-old daughter by giving the girl food she was
allergic to was released from jail without bail Wednesday after
prosecutors did not indict her within the legal time limit.
Veronica Cirella's lawyer, William Keahon, made
a legal demand last week for what's known as a felony exam, giving
prosecutors six days to either present their evidence against her
to a judge, or indict her.
Prosecutors did neither, because they are
"awaiting the medical examiner's ongoing investigation," said
Chris Munzing, a spokesman for Nassau District Attorney Kathleen
Rice. Munzing would not comment further. If prosecutors get a
grand jury indictment against Cirella in the future, they will
likely ask a judge to put her back in jail pending a trial.
Keahon, of Hauppauge, said Julie Cirella's
autopsy was inconclusive, and prosecutors await further toxicology
reports on the girl. Unless those reports show evidence of foul
play, prosecutors will not have enough proof to indict her mother,
Keahon said, commending prosecutors for what he said was their
cautious approach to the case.
The felony count against Cirella, second-degree
manslaughter, charges that she failed to take the medical steps
necessary to save her daughter.
Keahon said he fully expected his client to be
"She was loving, caring, and dedicated her life
to this beautiful child," Keahon said.
Julie Cirella was preparing to be a flower girl
in her cousin's July 23 wedding, but was instead found dead inside
the family home hours before the ceremony. Her mother was lying
nearby with a cord around her neck.
Prosecutors said they found a note at Cirella's
home with "language that asserts an intention to kill." But Keahon
said the note was not a confession, but a rant following the
"trauma of finding her child dead. "The mother was taking
responsibility, and blaming herself in some fashion for not being
able to save her child's life."
Plainview Woman In Possible Murder-Suicide
Attempt Allegedly Says Daughter Should Die
July 25, 2011
EAST MEADOW, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A
prosecutor says a Long Island woman fed her disabled 8-year-old
girl food she was allergic to, then tried to kill herself and left
a note that said “her daughter should die.”
Veronica Cirella, 30, of Plainview was charged
with manslaughter at her arraignment Sunday at the Nassau
University Medical Center. Police said both mother and daughter
Julie were discovered on the floor of their home unconscious by
the girl’s grandmother Saturday morning.
Julie had a cord around her neck.
“The grandchild could not be revived, however
that child’s mother was brought to Nassau County Medical Center
where we understand she is alive and conscious,” said Kevin Smith
with Nassau County police.
Judge Anna Anzalone ordered Cirella jailed
without bail. Neighbors described her as attentive and loving to
According to Newsday, prosecutor Zeena Abdi
said there was a certain protocol regarding the girl’s care that
the mother didn’t follow.
Autopsy results remained inconclusive; further
tests were pending.
“It appears right now that we have an
undetermined homicide,” said Smith. “We don’t know what caused the
death of the 8-year-old child. There are no outward signs of
violence or any trauma to that child. So it’s still very much
Cirella’s Legal Aid attorney Yolanda Guerra
denied the accusations.
Newsday says the child had cerebral palsy. She
was supposed to be a flower girl in her cousin’s wedding.