Andrea Curry-Demus Gets Life
for Cutting Baby from 18-Year-Old's Womb
By Edecio Martinez - CBSnews.com
May 18, 2010
PITTSBURGH (CBS/KDKA/AP) Andrea Curry-Demus
will spend the rest of her life in jail for luring a pregnant teen
to her apartment, drugging her, killing her, and cutting the child
from the womb so she could pass it off as her own.
The penalty was largely determined in March
when Allegheny County Judge Jeffrey Manning found her guilty of
second-degree murder, but also mentally ill.
That carries the mandatory life sentence
imposed formally on Monday, and Manning tacked on 20 years for
kidnapping, saying, "It would be a huge injustice if you were ever
released into society."
At her sentencing, Curry Demus briefly turned
around and faced the family of her 18-year-old victim Kia Johnson.
"I want to apologize to the family," the
40-year-old said, before facing the judge and saying, "I'm sorry."
Johnson's mother, Darlene Lee, said she was
satisfied with the life sentence.
"I don't want her to have the death penalty. I
want her to suffer, I really do," Lee said. "I want her to suffer
and think about what she did to my daughter and see my daughter's
face every day that she wakes up."
Curry-Demus met Johnson at the Allegheny County
Jail in July 2008 while both were visiting inmates, prosecutors
said. Curry-Demus had been telling her family she was pregnant,
even putting her name on another woman's ultrasound that she
showed people and decorating a nursery.
Curry-Demus eventually befriended Johnson by
offering her clothes for her unborn son and a ride home from the
jail on July 15, 2008. But Curry-Demus got Johnson to her own
Wilkinsburg apartment, drugged her, bound her with duct tape and
cut the baby from her.
Curry-Demus wrapped Johnson's body in more
tape, plastic wrap and bags and a comforter before stuffing it in
a space behind the bed. Johnson died of a combination of blood
loss and suffocation, prosecutors said.
Curry-Demus then told her sister that she gave
birth, but hospital tests showed she wasn't the mother. Curry-Demus
then told police she bought the baby from a crack addict, but
police found Johnson's body after Curry-Demus' neighbors reported
the stench of decomposition.
Curry-Demus had been sentenced to three to 10
years in prison in a similar plot two decades ago. In May 1990,
she stabbed a woman in an apparent plot to steal her newborn and
the next day kidnapped another baby from a hospital. She pleaded
guilty in January 1991 to kidnapping, aggravated assault,
concealing the whereabouts of a child and related offenses.
Crime scene details emerge at
By Eric Slagle - Triblive.com
Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010
As prosecutors present their case against
homicide suspect Andrea Curry-Demus, details of a bloody crime
The non-jury trial for Curry-Demus, 40, of
Wilkinsburg, got under way Monday with Demus' mother, doctor,
police officers and an EMS paramedic all taking the stand.
Curry-Demus is accused of killing Kia Johnson,
18, of McKeesport, in July 2008 and cutting Johnson's unborn baby
from her womb. Johnson's partially decomposed body was recovered
in Demus' apartment in Wilkinsburg several days after she was seen
leaving the Allegheny County Jail with Curry-Demus, where the two
are believed to have met while visiting their incarcerated
Photographic and physical evidence from the
crime scene was presented toward the end of Monday afternoon as
Deputy District Attorney Mark V. Tranquilli questioned Allegheny
County Homicide Detective Timothy Langan about his investigation
of the murder.
Tranquilli presented items to the court that
were recovered from the apartment. They included three bloody
knives, a roll of plastic kitchen wrap and a bloodstained roll of
duct tape. Also submitted were blue jeans that belonged to Johnson
that were found stuffed in Curry-Demus' hamper with duct tape
around one of the ankle cuffs. Photographic evidence included
items as they were found in Demus' apartment, bloody pillows and
bedding and a bloodstained bathroom.
Most disturbing of all was a photo of Johnson
as she was found by police, wrapped in bedding and plastic bags
and stuffed in a hollow space behind the headboard of Demus' bed
and her bedroom wall.
The prosecution said Curry-Demus should not be
excused from a first-degree murder charge because she has mental
"The defendant was not mentally insane. She
knew what she was doing was wrong," Tranquilli argued in his
opening statement. The prosecutor noted an incident in 1990 in
which Curry-Demus stabbed a pregnant woman and kidnapped another
woman's baby from a local hospital. He said because of that
incident and the resulting prison term, "She knew she could not
leave Kia Johnson alive."
Arguing that Curry-Demus also is not mentally
deficient, Tranquilli said the case he will present will prove
"she had been carefully constructing this web, much like a spider"
for weeks in advance.
Tranquilli told Allegheny County Judge Jeffrey
A. Manning he will ask that the judge find her "guilty but
Demus' attorney Christopher Patarini told the
court his client is not guilty by reason of insanity and said he
would present information from mental health experts indicating
"she was operating under severe psychosis when she cut the baby
from the womb."
Patarini described the defendant as a woman
who'd suffered from delusions and other mental disorders for
One of the main delusions Curry-Demus is
described as suffering was that she believed she experienced a
number of pregnancies and miscarriages.
Her physician, Dr. Karen Valazquez, told the
court she'd seen Curry-Demus regularly over the course of nine
years and that to her knowledge, Curry-Demus had never been
pregnant or miscarried. The doctor said she wasn't aware Curry-Demus
suffered from mental issues and that her patient hadn't suffered
from any reproductive disorders.
In November 2007, the doctor said Curry-Demus
had taken a urine test to see if she was pregnant. When the test
came back positive, Valazquez said she'd informed Curry-Demus but
also said such tests sometimes give false readings and that an
additional blood test would have to be administered to be sure.
The blood test was given and it turned out Curry-Demus was not
pregnant, the doctor said.
A staff member called Curry-Demus and told her
she was not pregnant.
Curry-Demus apparently never told family
members about the second, negative test.
The defendant's mother Sharon Curry, 57, of
Wilkinsburg, said she and others were with her daughter at home
when a phone call about the positive urine test came in.
"Will you tell my mom?" Curry reported her
daughter had asked a moment before handing her the phone. Curry,
under questioning, couldn't remember the doctor's name, but said
she heard the doctor clearly say that Curry-Demus was pregnant.
Curry said her daughter's due date was the end
of June and that family members immediately began planning a baby
shower. From that point on, Curry said, all conversations with her
daughter had to do with her pregnancy. At one point, Curry-Demus
even showed her family members an ultrasound picture of a baby
that she claimed was hers.
"We rubbed her belly," the mother said. "Her
eyes were lit up."
"I was on cloud nine," Curry said, describing
her reaction to hearing her daughter was going to become a mother.
"I was very, very happy."
Curry-Demus told her mother that doctors
planned to induce labor at the end of June. When the date for
inducement passed, Curry said her daughter told her "something was
On July 15, Curry said she'd just started her 7
p.m. to 7 a.m. nurses aide job at UPMC Montefiore Hospital when
her daughter called and said she was having contractions. Curry
left work early and went straight to her daughter's apartment,
which is only a few blocks from her own along Ella Street, to
check on her well-being.
Curry said she, Curry-Demus and her other
daughter Brooke Curry and another woman stayed part of the night.
Curry said she didn't notice anything was amiss and left around 11
p.m. with her daughter walking her back to her home a few blocks
Curry said she went to bed for the night.
Curry-Demus called her the next morning to tell her she'd
delivered. Curry went to her apartment and noticed that both of
her daughters had blood on them and there was blood in the
bathroom. Curry said she told them to call 911 right away and that
Brooke Curry said she already had and no ambulance crew had
responded. The mother said she then called 911.
Curry said she saw the baby, which had not been
cleaned after birth, on the couch with Curry-Demus in the
apartment. When asked by the prosecutor how the baby looked, Curry
Curry-Demus was transported to West Penn
Hospital where she continued to claim the baby was hers, though
she would not let doctors examine her.
Hospital staff later told Curry that her
daughter hadn't given birth.
Curry said when she asked her daughter what was
going on, she told her, "Mom, I bought a baby."
Curry-Demus also told authorities that she
bought the baby for $1,000 from a young black woman named Tina
known to frequent the Wilkinsburg and Homewood areas. She then
changed the story to implicate other individuals in a
When questioned whether she believed that her
daughter had bought the baby, Curry answered softly, "I don't
Neither the mother, nor the sister Brooke
Curry, who testified at a mental competency hearing for her sister
last year, has admitted to looking inside Curry-Demus' bedroom
before Johnson's body was found. A responding EMS crew also
overlooked the bedroom.
Tranquilli said that Johnson was alive and
restrained inside Demus' bedroom the night of July 15. He alleges
Curry-Demus harvested the baby before wrapping Johnson in duct
tape to suffocate her.
Johnson's baby, Terrell Kian Barnes, survived
the attack and is now in the custody of the Johnson family.
Trial opens in murder,
kidnapping from womb case
January 12, 2010
A woman accused of cutting a baby from a
pregnant teenager, killing her, and passing the baby off as her
own, had not been pregnant, even though she told her family she
was, according to a prosecutor and her doctor.
Andrea Curry-Demus, 40, put her name on an
ultrasound picture of a fetus and gave it to her mother, who threw
a baby shower for her.
Her mother, Sharon Curry, testified at her
daughter’s trial on homicide and kidnapping charges Monday that
she was excited at learning she would be a grandmother for the
first time in late fall 2007.
“I was on cloud nine,” she testified. “I was
very, very happy.”
But while a doctor told Curry-Demus, of
Wilkinsburg, a Pittsburgh suburb, that she may be pregnant based
on a urine test, a blood test showed she was not. Dr. Karen
Velazquez testified Curry-Demus was not pregnant.
While Curry-Demus held herself out to be
pregnant, she plotted to get a baby, according to prosecutor Mark
That happened when she met and befriended Kia
Johnson, 18, of McKeesport, at the Allegheny County Jail, in July
2008. Johnson was visiting her unborn son’s father and Curry-Demus
was visiting her husband. Curry-Demus lured Johnson to her
apartment to steal the baby, Tranquilli said.
Johnson’s body — bound with duct tape and
wrapped in plastic wrap and a comforter — was found stuffed behind
a headboard. The baby, Terrell Kian Johnson, survived and is
living with relatives.
Johnson’s mother and father were in court, her
mother wiping back tears, but had to leave when Tranquilli
described how Johnson was found.
After hiding Johnson’s body, Curry-Demus told
her mother and sister that she gave birth in her bathroom. When
hospital tests showed she did not give birth, Curry-Demus told
police that she bought the baby for $1,000 from a young woman she
knew as Tina, according to testimony.
Curry-Demus said she bought Tina clothes
“because of the kindness of my heart,” according to her taped
confession played in court.
Investigators eventually found Johnson’s body
after initially being misled by Curry-Demus’ sister, Brooke Curry,
who had shown them her own apartment and told them it was that of
Curry-Demus. The sisters lived in different apartments in the
Tranquilli said Brooke Curry had nothing to do
with Johnson’s death and lied to help her sister, not knowing the
truth. Brooke Curry is expected to testify Tuesday.
Defense attorney Christopher Patarini will try
to convince an Allegheny County judge that Curry-Demus is not
guilty by reason of insanity. She chose last week to have Judge
Jeffrey Manning decide her case rather than a jury.
Patarini told Manning that Curry-Demus has a
history of mental problems and that a defense psychiatrist will
testify that she was preoccupied with delusions of being pregnant.
Curry-Demus had a “break with reality,” he said, and how she went
about getting a baby was consistent with her severe psychosis.
Tranquilli acknowledged that Curry-Demus has
mental problems but said he would show that she knew what she was
doing was wrong.
He said Curry-Demus sliced the baby from
Johnson while she was still alive and that Johnson died of
combination of blood loss and suffocation. Curry-Demus wrapped
Johnson’s head in plastic and duct tape, which showed she intended
to kill her, he said.
Curry-Demus had served about eight years in
prison for kidnapping another woman’s baby in May 1990. Because
that woman had testified against Curry-Demus, “She knew she could
not leave Kia Johnson alive,” Tranquilli said.
He told Manning that the proper verdict would
be guilty of first- or second-degree murder, but mentally ill.
That would mean Curry-Demus would undergo mental health treatment
and serve her life-sentence in either a mental facility or prison.
Woman charged in death of
eviscerated pregnant teen
July 20, 2008
PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- A
Pennsylvania woman has been charged in the slaying of an
18-year-old woman who was found with her uterus cut open and her
fetus removed, authorities said Sunday.
Andrea Curry-Demus, 38, of Wilkinsburg was
charged Sunday with criminal homicide kidnapping and unlawful
restraint in connection with last week's death of Kia Johnson,
Allegheny County police Superintendent Charles Moffatt said.
Police found Johnson's body in Curry-Demus'
apartment Friday, two days after Curry-Demus arrived at a hospital
with a newborn and falsely claimed that the baby was hers,
authorities said. Police have not confirmed whether the infant
belonged to Johnson, whose family reported her missing last week.
Johnson's eviscerated body -- which police said
they found after receiving calls about a foul odor coming from the
apartment -- "was in a state of moderate decomposition," and she
had been dead about two days, Medical Examiner Karl Williams said.
The cause of death hasn't been determined, he said.
The woman's hands and feet were bound by duct
tape, police said. A placenta was found at the scene, Williams
Authorities said they used dental records to
confirm Johnson's identity.
Drugs were found at the apartment, and
authorities are awaiting toxicology results to determine whether
she was sedated, Williams said. It's unclear whether Johnson was
alive when her infant was taken, he added.
Wilkinsburg Police Chief Ophelia Coleman said
Johnson's body was not found earlier because Curry-Demus' sister
led investigators to another apartment. The sister has not been
charged, Coleman said.
Police said Curry-Demus arrived by ambulance at
a local hospital with a newborn boy Wednesday, claiming that she
had just given birth. Hospital personnel determined that she
hadn't given birth, so they contacted police, authorities said.
According to a criminal complaint, Curry-Demus
told Detective Rich Grande that she purchased the baby from a
woman named Tina for $1,000. Curry-Demus told Grande she had
suffered a miscarriage in June and "did not want her mother to get
upset," according to the complaint.
According to the complaint, Curry-Demus said
Tina showed up with her newborn wrapped in a towel and left.
Curry-Demus said she called medics because the baby was still
"dirty from birth," the complaint said.
The baby is in good condition, a hospital
spokeswoman said, and will be released to child welfare workers
when he is ready.
Criminal homicide is a broad charge that covers
a variety of murder or manslaughter counts, said Mike Manko, a
spokesman for the Allegheny County district attorney's office.
More specific charges could be brought as the case moves through
the courts, Manko said.
"At some point after a case is held for court,
then the general charge of criminal homicide will be made more
specific," he said.
Curry-Demus was charged Thursday with
endangering the welfare of a child, a felony, and dealing in
infant children, a misdemeanor, after she brought the newborn to
the hospital, authorities said.
Moffatt said investigators don't know how long
Curry-Demus and Johnson knew each other. Investigators have reason
to believe that the two recently were visiting inmates at the
Allegheny County Jail at the same time.
"We don't know if they met there," Moffatt
Friends and relatives said Curry-Demus had told
them she was pregnant for months, even having a baby shower.
"I went to the baby shower and her wedding,"
Ivee Blunt said. "I had no idea something like this could happen.
I'm totally shocked. And she was so nice and kind. It's just
But sister-in-law Stephanie Epps said Curry-Demus
would never allow her to touch her stomach.
"Pregnant women do things like that," Epps
said. "They're happy because they're pregnant. But she would never
do none of that."
Being led out of the Wilkinsburg Police
Department, Curry-Demus told reporters, "I didn't do nothing,"
according to WTAE.
According to court records obtained by the
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Curry-Demus became pregnant at 12 and
miscarried four months later. She had a second miscarriage in
1990, when she was 21, the paper said.
Only a few months after the second miscarriage,
Curry-Demus befriended a woman who had just given birth but later
attacked her with a knife and tried to steal the baby, the paper
said, citing the court records. The woman's husband intervened,
the newspaper reported, and she fled.
The next day, she went to a hospital and
befriended a woman who had brought her 3-week-old daughter to the
hospital to be treated for meningitis, the Tribune-Review said.
When the woman went home for the night, Curry-Demus left the
hospital with the baby. It was found at her home, unharmed, the
In 1991, according to the records, she pleaded
guilty to various charges stemming from both incidents and was
sentenced to three to 10 years in prison, the newspaper reported.
She was paroled in August 1998 and ordered to serve 10 years of
probation, the paper said.
The newspaper reported, citing court records,
that Curry-Demus was examined by psychiatrists at the Allegheny
County Jail before her sentencing and was diagnosed with severe
depression, personality disorders and auditory hallucinations. She
told doctors she spent a lot of time thinking about her
miscarriages and "kept hearing babies cry," the Tribune-Review
Wilkinsburg is just east of Pittsburgh,
This year, a Kansas woman was sentenced to
death in the 2004 killing of a Missouri woman whose baby was cut
from her womb.
Lisa Montgomery was convicted in October in the
death of Bobbie Jo Stinnett, 23, who was found strangled in her
Skidmore, Missouri, home. Stinnett's womb was cut open, and her
unborn child was missing. Montgomery was found days later at home
in Kansas, where she was attempting to pass the baby off as her
Timeline In Baby Theft, Murder In
July 20, 2008
This is the timeline of events in the Kia
Johnson murder and baby theft case as compiled through a
combination of police reports and WPXI news coverage.
Tuesday, July 15
9:00 am Kia Johnson leaves McKeesport
home to go to Allegheny County Jail to visit her baby’s father.
Afternoon Surveillance video at
Allegheny County Jail shows Kia Johnson talking with Andrea Curry-Demus.
The women were visiting different inmates.
Wednesday, July 16
Morning Curry-Demus claims someone else
removed the baby from a women delivered to her apartment and gave
it to her.
Curry-Demus says she took the baby to the
apartment of her sister.
Curry-Demus is taken to West Penn Hospital,
with the baby’s umbilical cord attached.
Thursday, July 17
Afternoon Hospital determines that
Curry-Demus did not give birth to the child. Hospital notifies the
Evening Andrea Curry-Demus tells police
she bought the baby from a girl named “Tina” for $1,000.
Police file charges of Endangerment of a Child
and Dealing in Infant Children.
Friday, July 18
5:00 pm Homicide detectives are called
to Ella Street apartment of Andrea Curry-Demus to investigate foul
Evening Detectives enter apartment, find
body of a woman partially decomposed. Victim was bound with duct
tape, and a plastic bag was placed over her head. Homicide
Family of Kia Johnson does interview with
Channel 11 News. They state they believe the woman found is Kia,
as she has been missing since Tuesday and is due to give birth on
Saturday, July 19
Morning Autopsy completed. Medical
Examiner says victim’s body was cut open at the uterus, with
wounded consistent to the removal of an infant.
Manner of death is listed as homicide.
Evening Victim is identified as woman
reported missing on Tuesday, Kia Johnson of McKeesport.
Clothes found on the victim are found to be
consistent with what Kia Johnson was wearing on Tuesday’s jail
Sunday, July 20
Morning Additional charges of criminal
homicide, kidnapping and unlawful restraint are filed against