BLACKSTONE — The judge who presided over the Erika Murray murder trial is expected to announce her verdict today, according to the office of District Attorney Joseph D. Early, Jr.
Timothy J. Connolly, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office, said his office was notified by the Worcester Superior Court clerk’s office Wednesday that Judge Janet Kenton-Walker would render a decision in the case at 11 a.m.
The decision comes six days after the conclusion of Murray’s eight-day bench trial on June 14. Murray waived her right to a jury trial, leaving Kenton-Walker to rule on the case.
Murray, 35, formerly of 23 St. Paul St., is charged with second-degree murder and two counts each of assault and battery on a child causing substantial bodily injury, reckless endangerment of a child and animal cruelty.
Conviction of second-degree murder in Massachusetts carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after a minimum of 15 years.
Murray was arrested Sept. 10, 2014, after the bodies of three infants she had given birth to were found in her squalid home in August of that year. She is accused of murdering one of her babies, as well as concealing the death of her newborn, whose body was found with the umbilical cord still attached.
Murray’s other four children, ranging in age from 6 months to 13 years, were removed from the house before authorities found the infants’ remains in a more thorough search a few weeks later.
Prosecutors contend that at least two of the three infants who were found dead in the home had been living there. Two of the children who were in trash bags hanging in the home’s closets were clad in diapers and onesies when they were found, according to prosecutors.
Murray’s former live-in boyfriend, Ramon Rivera, 42, the father of the four living children, is under indictment on two counts each of assault and battery on a child with substantial injury, reckless endangerment of a child and animal cruelty, and a single count of possessing marijuana with intent to distribute. He is to be tried separately.
Murray has pleaded not guilty and her attorney, Keith Halpern, contends she is mentally ill. Halpern has argued that the state did not prove that the two dead infants were born alive and if born alive, did not prove Murray did anything by act or omission to cause their deaths. He said his client claims one was stillborn and the other was alive for a short period of time before she found it dead.
Halpern contends Murray had a diminished mental capacity that rendered her incapable of premeditating or of forming the intent required for a murder conviction.
Assistant District Attorney Christopher Hodgens argued that Murray knew what she was doing and lived a life of secrecy. A psychiatrist who testified on behalf of the prosecution said he concluded Murray did not suffer from a mental illness.
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