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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Convicted of killing her pregnant friend and cutting the baby from her womb
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: July 23, 2009
Date of arrest: 6 days later
Date of birth: 1974
Victim profile: Darlene Haynes, 23 (eight months pregnant)
Method of murder: Strangulation with an electrical cord
Location: Worcester, Worcester County, Massachusetts, USA
Status: Sentenced to life in prison without parole on February 18, 2014
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Mass. woman gets life for cut-from-womb killing

February 18, 2014

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — A woman convicted of killing her pregnant friend and cutting the baby from her womb was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison while the victim’s father sat in court holding his daughter’s ashes.

Julie Corey, 39, of Worcester, was given the mandatory term of life without parole by a judge.

She was convicted last week in Worcester Superior Court of first-degree murder for killing Darlene Haynes in July 2009, three months after her own miscarriage, and passing Haynes’ baby off as her own.

Haynes, who was eight months pregnant, was found dead in her apartment. The 23-year-old had been beaten and strangled with an electrical cord, prosecutors said. Her abdomen had been cut open, and the baby was gone.

Corey and her then-boyfriend were found with the baby two days later at a homeless shelter in Plymouth, N.H. Corey claimed she had delivered the baby girl, who survived. She’s now 4 and lives with her biological father.

Haynes’ father, Fred Haynes, clutched a container carrying his daughter’s ashes in court. He wiped away tears, too weak to stand and too distraught to speak.

‘‘This is the reminder that he has every day of his daughter. It’s not replacement for having her, and speaking to her ... it can’t replace his daughter,’’ prosecutor Daniel Bennett said, referring to the urn.

The judge read a statement from Haynes’ 9-year-old daughter.

‘‘Julie, it was mean to kill my mother. I think it was very bad that you did that,’’ the statement read.

Corey’s lawyers acknowledged that their client was found with the baby but said she played no role in Haynes’ slaying.

They said police failed to follow up on leads that could have implicated other potential suspects in the killing, including Haynes’ ex-boyfriend. They suggested that Haynes’ ex-boyfriend had given Corey and her boyfriend the baby, but he denied that on the witness stand.

Under state law, the conviction will automatically be appealed.


Julie Corey sobs as jury finds her guilty of first-degree murder in Worcester fetal abduction case

By John F. Hill -

February 12, 2014

Julie Corey was found guilty of first-degree murder Wednesday in the grisly and bizarre 2009 murder of her former neighbor.

A Worcester Superior Court jury, split evenly between men and women, deliberated for a little over a full day before finding Corey guilty.

Corey, 39, sobbed loudly and held her face in her hands after the verdict was read. A few feet away, Fred Haynes, the father of victim Darlene Haynes, wept quietly.

Corey was accused of killing Darlene Haynes to steal her baby. Haynes was 23 and eight months pregnant at the time of the 2009 killing.

Prosecutors said Corey struck Haynes in the head repeatedly, strangled her with an electrical cord from a lamp, then sliced open Haynes' abdomen to take the baby.

Haynes was found dead four days later, wrapped in a comforter and stuffed into her bedroom closet.

Prosecutors said Corey was motivated by the loss of her own baby, stillborn when she was approximately 30 weeks pregnant. Assistant District Attorney Daniel Bennett said Corey needed a baby girl to maintain the ruse that she was still pregnant to keep her boyfriend from leaving and to stay eligible for state welfare checks.

Corey's defense did not dispute that she was found with the victim's baby. They argued Haynes' ex-boyfriend, Roberto "Tito" Rodriguez, was the killer. Police initially focused on Rodriguez, who had a history of domestic violence and Haynes had a restraining order against at the time of her death.

The jury heard 10 days of testimony before delivering the verdict. They found that Corey committed the murder herself, it was premeditated, done with unusual cruelty and done while committing another felony, kidnapping the fetus.

The fathers of both the victim and the defendant attended the trial throughout. Both declined to comment after the verdict was read.

In a press conference after the verdict, Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early praised his prosecutors for success in "probably the most horrific case we've seen."

Lead prosecutor Daniel Bennett -- who Early called "the best prosecutor ...that I've met in my life" -- said he was nervous until the verdict was read.

"My blood pressure pounds through my head from the moment I finish my closing and I'm done listening to the judge's instructions," Bennett said. "The entire time, I am worried."

Early also praised Worcester Police Department for its work on the case, which took more than four years to get to trial. Corey's attorneys spent much of the case attacking the police investigation, suggesting they had failed to collect evidence or follow leads that would have proved Rodriguez was the killer.

"We did raise some salient and important points," co-defense attorney Michael Wilcox said. "They obviously resolved them against Miss Corey."

Co-defense attorney Louis P. Aloise said Corey had been encouraged earlier in the day, when the jury asked a question that seemed to indicate at least some members didn't believe Corey was the killer.

"I've been doing this too long to read anything into jury questions," he said.

The jury came back roughly an hour later with the guilty verdict.

"And now she's facing the prospect, at 39 years old, of spending the rest of her natural life in prison, without any possibility of parole," Aloise said. "That -- no matter what you think of the person, of any person -- is a sobering fact."

Corey did not testify during the trial. Wilcox said the decision to not take the stand was made by Corey, with the consultation of her attorneys.

Wilcox said another attorney would review all of the trial transcripts to determine if there were grounds for an appeal. He said it was too early to speculate what those grounds might be.


Julie Corey fetal abduction trial: Defense rests, Corey doesn't take stand

By John F. Hill -

February 10, 2014

Closing arguments will be made Tuesday in the Julie Corey fetal abduction murder trial, after the defense wrapped up its case Monday.

Corey, of Worcester, is accused of killing her former neighbor in 2009 to steal the pregnant woman's unborn child. She did not take the stand in her defense.

Judge Janet Kenton-Walker said closing arguments will begin Tuesday morning. After what are expected to be lengthy instructions from the judge, the jury will begin deliberations later on Tuesday.

The final person was called to the stand mid-morning on Monday, the trial's ninth day of testimony.

Corey, now 39, is accused of killing 23-year-old Darlene Haynes in July 2009. Authorities say Haynes was beaten in the head and strangled with an electrical cord ripped from a lamp. When her body was found four days later, the pregnant woman's abdomen was sliced open and her unborn fetus was gone.

Haynes was wrapped in a comforter and stuffed into the bedroom closet of her apartment on Southgate Street in Worcester.

After a search for the child, it was found in a homeless shelter in New Hampshire with Corey and her boyfriend, Alex Dion.

Corey has been charged with first-degree murder. She would face life in prison if convicted of that charge.

As testimony wrapped up Monday, the jury heard from two Department of Children and Families social workers. The women testified that they had been involved with the victim's family for months before the killing.

Haynes and her boyfriend, Roberto Rodriguez, had a young child together at the time of her murder. The baby in Haynes' womb was also Rodriguez's, according to DNA analysis.

Social worker Jessica Bader testified she made several visits to Haynes' home between April and June 2009. On June 26, Haynes called her because she had just reported to police she'd been assaulted by Rodriguez.

Bader said Haynes was "frantic," a characterization that the judge ordered stricken from the record. Haynes told her Rodriguez had thrown her threw a glass table, then ripped the phone off the wall to prevent her from calling the police.

The testimony matches other witness's statements, who said Haynes got a restraining order against Rodriguez after the incident that was still in effect at the time of the killing. Rodriguez told police, in a video interview shown to the jury, he hadn't been back to the apartment since.

Corey's defense has tried to focus suspicion on Rodriguez, who another witness claimed to have seen emerging from a nearby cemetery looking dirty and disheveled the day after the killing.

Rodriguez was not called to testify in the case.

Under cross examination, Bader said she met with Haynes a few weeks later, and Haynes expressed remorse at reporting the assault. She broke down crying and told the social worker she just wanted to take it all back and "felt awful about the situation she put herself in."

In his police interview, Rodriguez said Haynes left him 23 voice messages that day, asking to talk about something urgent. Rodriguez ignored the calls.

The date was July 23, 2009, the day Haynes was killed.


Julie Corey trial: Thoroughness of police investigation questioned

By John F. Hill -

February 7, 2014

Julie Corey's defense on Friday continued to assail the police investigation into Darlene Haynes' murder, while prosecutors suggested another possible motive for the crime.

The defense called several Worcester Police Department detectives and questioned whether they had completely investigated the crime.

A major theme of the defense's case has been a lack of completeness in the police investigation. They have suggested that police discarded Haynes' boyfriend, Roberto Rodriguez, too quickly as a suspect, failing to follow leads that suggested he may have had something to do with the murder.

Haynes was 23 and eight months pregnant when she was killed. She was found wrapped in her comforter in her bedroom closet, about four days after she was beaten in the head and strangled with the cord of a nearby lamp.

Haynes' abdomen was sliced open, and her baby was taken from her womb.

Corey, now 39, was found a few days later at a homeless shelter in New Hampshire with the newborn. The defense does not dispute Corey had the victim's child, but says someone else committed the murder.

On Friday, defense attorney Michael Wilcox grilled Worcester police detectives on a number of items found at the crime scene and at the apartment where Rodriguez lived at the time of the killing.

Wilcox asked two detectives and a crime scene investigator why they hadn't paid more attention to a pair of cut-off hospital-style pants and booties found in the trash of the apartment Rodriguez was sharing with his mother. He also questioned why they hadn't searched the apartment itself.

Neither the hospital pants nor the booties were fingerprinted or tested for DNA, detectives said.

Det. John Doherty said on Tuesday the police investigation shifted focus from Rodriguez to Corey after they learned she left the state with a baby shortly before the body was found.

Wilcox also questioned whether detectives had asked to hear some of the 23 messages Haynes left on Rodriguez's phone the night she was killed. Rodriguez told police he was done with the relationship and had deleted 19 of the messages.

Doherty said he didn't remember if detectives had asked to listen to the four remaining messages.

Meanwhile, prosecutors showed evidence Corey was facing the loss of some state benefits unless she had proof she'd had a baby.

Inside the Ford Escort Corey and boyfriend Alex Dion drove to New Hampshire before Corey was arrested, police found documents relating to Massachusetts' Women, Infants and Children Nutrition Program. The program provides nutrition advice and money for healthy food for breastfeeding women, new moms and kids younger than 5.

A WIC card in Corey's name showed an expiration date just over a week after the murder. A letter from the state urged Corey to attend an upcoming and to bring her newborn's birth certificate, or risk losing her benefits.

Evidence from earlier in the trial showed that Corey was pregnant in 2009, and attorneys on both sides have suggested the baby was stillborn. A hospital report from April of that year showed Corey was 30 weeks pregnant.

Friends told authorities they knew Corey was pregnant, and she had a baby shower in May, but that her due date changed several times before the baby was born.

Prosecutors also played a 2009 interview with William Daviau, who rented a room from Haynes and Rodriguez shortly before the murder.

Another neighbor claimed to have seen Daviau outside the apartment with Haynes and Corey, smoking cigarettes just hours before the killing.

Daviau, an admitted heroin addict who died before the trial began, denied he had been back the the apartment after moving out a few weeks earlier.

"I didn't hurt that girl... the girl didn't deserve that, she didn't deserve that," Daviau said. "If I had any thought of who could have done that I would have told you."

Judge Janet Kenton-Walker said Friday that testimony should be finished early next week and the jury could get the case on Tuesday.


Julie Corey trial: 11 things we learned in the first week

By John F. Hill -

February 3, 2014

In 2009, a pregnant 23-year-old was killed inside her Worcester apartment.

Darlene Haynes had been beaten in the head, strangled with an electrical cord and sliced open, her unborn baby stolen from her womb. A massive search was on for the perpetrator of the gruesome crime.

A few days after Haynes' body was found, her former neighbor, Julie Corey, was found in a New Hampshire homeless shelter with the baby.

Corey, 39, is now on trial in Worcester Superior Court for first-degree murder. She faces life in state prison if convicted.

The trial began with opening statements on Jan. 27. Here's what we know after the trial's first week:

Corey has five children and had an operation to have her tubes tied: When the killing was first reported, many expected it had been committed by someone unable to have a child of his or her own. If the prosecution is correct, and Julie Corey is the killer, that's not the case.

Corey has five children, although at the time of the killing she had only partial custody of one of them. According to a medical record, Corey has been pregnant eight times.

At one point, Corey had a tubal ligation operation to prevent her from getting pregnant again, according to testimony from Alex Dion, her ex-boyfriend. But the operation was unsuccessful, and Corey maintained the ability to have children.

We know this to be true, because...

Before the killing, Corey was pregnant and apparently gave birth to a stillborn baby: A medical record from April 2009 shows Corey visited UMass Memorial Medical Center complaining of pain. The document says Corey was 30 weeks pregnant.

Corey had a baby shower sometime in May. Prosecutors displayed photos from the shower, showing Corey and Dion happily opening gifts and, in one photo, playfully smushing cake into each other's mouths.

Both the prosecution and the defense have suggested the fetus died in the womb. The jury has seen no evidence explaining what happened to the baby.

Corey asked people if Haynes' baby looked like her: In the days after the killing, Corey showed off the baby during a barbecue at her boyfriend's mother's house. She also asked a friend, Yeris Turbi, one day who the baby looked like.

"I told her that the baby didn't resemble any of them," Turbi testified, through an interpreter.

Several witnesses said the baby looked small, and that her skin was spotted with dried blood.

Corey and Haynes may have been together hours before the murder: Surveillance footage from a liquor store on Canterbury Street, near the crime scene, shows Darlene Haynes getting out of a Ford Escort, walking inside and making a purchase. Prosecutors say the woman driving the car was Julie Corey.

Corey's boyfriend, Dion, owned a Ford Escort at the time. Dion said it was very odd for Corey to be going anywhere with Haynes. "They weren't friends," he testified.

Prosecutors say Corey made 12 calls from the victim's phone in the hours after the killing: Corey went out on the night of the murder to visit a friend, her boyfriend Dion testified. She called at 11:30 p.m. to say her water had broken. She called 11 more times that night, detailing what was happening at the hospital, including the nurses' lax treatment of her and the baby. Corey eventually left the hospital early, she told Dion, because of the poor care.

The calls came from Haynes' phone, according to prosecutors. The phone was actually in her boyfriend's name, but Haynes listed it as her primary contact on some forms.

A bottle of Smirnoff Ice is key evidence: So far, the only physical evidence placing Julie Corey in the victim's apartment is a bottle of watermelon-flavored Smirnoff Ice. On Friday, Worcester Police Department Lt. David Grady, with the latent prints unit, testified that Corey's fingerprint was found on the neck of the bottle. The bottle was found on a dresser in Haynes' bedroom, just feet from the closet where her body was found.

Haynes' body wasn't found for four days, and emergency responders were overcome by the smell: Haynes' landlord, William Thompson, who found the body, said he had to leave for fresh air before he could fully investigate the apartment. An EMT also had to go outside after being overcome by the fumes.

Grady, the crime scene investigator, said the police asked the Worcester Fire Department for some industrial fans to clear out all the flies.

Men were seen going into and out of Haynes' apartment after she was killed: A neighbor, Erica Mercado, testified to seeing a man come out of the apartment with with a fish tank, dump the water out and leave. The man, believed to be Timothy Tripp, another resident of the apartment building, told Mercado he had been given permission to have the fish tank.

In the days after Haynes' death, but before her body was found, a man was seen standing on the outside back porch smoking a cigarette, and another man climbed into the apartment's window, the defense claims.

Corey's defense is criticizing the police investigation: Corey's three defense attorneys have grilled prosecution witnesses about the thoroughness of the investigation. They have pointed to a number of items in the apartment that weren't tested for fingerprints or DNA, including a McDonald's cup, cigarette butts and a number of household items.

"What the police did or didn't do in this case is going to be very important for you to consider," defense attorney Michael Wilcox said in his opening statement.

Haynes' boyfriend, Roberto "Tito" Rodriguez, will be the defense's key witness: Both Haynes and a previous girlfriend had restraining orders against Rodriguez. Calls to Corey's boyfriend in the hours after the killing -- which the prosecution claims were coming from Julie Corey as she pretended to be in the hospital giving birth -- could actually have been coming from Rodriguez as part of a conspiracy.

The defense says he was seen at the time of the killing, a quarter-mile away, dirty and looking out of breath. Rodriguez's DNA was also found on some first aid tape in the apartment.

The defense accused Corey's boyfriend Dion of conspiring with Rodriguez and knowing exactly where the baby had come from. The calls on the night of the murder could have been coming from Rodriguez, they argued. The phone, after all, was in his name.

Dion, who says he always believed the baby to be his, denied the charge.

Closing arguments are expected on Feb. 10: The prosecution is still putting on its case. Court will not be in session on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. Judge Janet Kenton-Walker said she expects closing arguments on Feb. 10.


Family believed baby cut from womb was theirs

Relatives of kidnapping suspect's boyfriend even held party for child's birth

July 31, 2009

WORCESTER, Mass. — Little things nagged at Cindy Dion while her son's girlfriend, Julie Corey, was pregnant: One month Corey said she was four months' pregnant — the next it was eight. Her due date pushed back drastically as it neared. And Corey suddenly refused to let Dion's son, Alex, accompany her to the doctor.

But Dion put her questions aside when her granddaughter was born last week, and her son couldn't stop smiling. The family even held a cookout to welcome the child, whom he and his girlfriend planned to name Alida Nevaeh.

Now, the baby is in state custody and Julie Corey — Alex Dion's on-and-off girlfriend of two years — is in jail on $2 million bail and has been charged with being a fugitive from justice. She also faces an accusation that she kidnapped an infant who was cut out of her mother's womb. The mother, Darlene Haynes, a friend of Corey's, was found dead Monday in Worcester. Police have not yet charged anyone in her death.

Cindy Dion said Friday it's devastating that she got a chance to hold and love the baby when Haynes never did. She struggles to speak when she considers she might never see the baby she thought was her granddaughter again.

"It's killing me. I've got a hole in my heart," Dion said before breaking down and weeping.

Dion said Corey was clearly expecting when the family held a shower for her in May. But looking back, Dion said, Corey's behavior during the pregnancy was odd.

Unusual 'pregnancy'

She told the family she was four months' pregnant in April but said she was eight months' pregnant by the shower a month later. She wouldn't let Alex Dion accompany her on doctor's visits after a test indicated the baby might have developmental problems. The baby was originally due in mid-June, but Corey, 35, told the family she was going to have a cesarean section in late July.

Dion said she was set to go the hospital July 24 to be with Corey after the procedure, but Corey called her the night before to say she was about to give birth. Then, Corey called Friday morning to ask her to visit the baby at her home, not a hospital.

The blood in the baby's ear and the neck was odd — she thought hospitals cleaned newborns much better than that.

Still, Cindy Dion believed the baby was Corey's until her distraught son called from New Hampshire on Wednesday, the day police arrested Corey. He told her, "The baby's not ours."

Dion said her biggest question is what happened to Corey's pregnancy. Did she miscarry? If so, what happened to the child's body? "I want to know where my grandbaby is," she said.

'He cried so hard'

Alex Dion couldn't immediately be reached for comment Friday, but he told the Boston Herald he never doubted the child was his. "I thought I had a brand-new daughter," he said.

His mother said her 27-year-old son was racked with grief on the ride home from New Hampshire.

"He cried so hard he couldn't catch his breath," she said. "I had to climb over the front seat and sit with him. And he hugged me like he was a little kid."

Donna Scoville, a neighbor who drove the mother and son back from New Hampshire, said she turned to Alex Dion and said, "I'm sorry." Scoville said his response to her was: "I don't want you to be sorry for me. Be sorry for that baby's mother."



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