Mother Charged with Murder in the Second Degree for
Killing Newborn by Abandoning her in Vacant Lot
Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced that on Tuesday, March 3, 2020, Nicole H. Layman, 22, of Port Jervis, was arraigned before the Judge Robert J. Prisco, in Orange County Court, on an indictment charging her with crimes including Murder in the Second Degree, in connection with the death of a newborn infant found in a vacant lot in Port Jervis on November 19, 2020. Layman was remanded to the Orange County Jail in lieu of bail in the amount of $500,000 cash, $3,000,000 secured bond or $5,000,000 partially secured bond.
The indictment charges Layman with two counts Murder in the Second Degree, Manslaughter in the Second Degree, Abandonment of a Child, Assault in the First Degree, and Tampering with Physical Evidence.
On the night of November 12, 2019, City of Port Jervis Police Officers responded to a report of a deceased infant found in a vacant lot adjacent to Hornbeck Avenue, in the City of Port Jervis. Upon their arrival police officers observed the body of a newborn baby. Subsequent investigation revealed that the baby girl had been born that night and had died of exposure to the elements, when left in freezing cold conditions in the vacant lot.
An investigation was conducted by the City of Port Jervis Police Department, who were aided by the New York State Police, the Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. The investigation included executing a search warrant at Layman’s residence, conducting an autopsy on the deceased infant, and obtaining laboratory analysis of tissue samples obtained during the autopsy.
Layman was arrested on the evening of February 18, 2020 and charged with one count of Murder in the Second Degree, in violation of Penal Law Section 125.25 (4). That section states that a person is guilty of Murder in the Second Degree when, under circumstances evincing a depraved indifference to human life, and being eighteen years old or more, the defendant recklessly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of serious physical injury or death to another person less than eleven years old and thereby causes the death of such person. In addition to charging Murder in the Second Degree under that theory, the indictment also charges Layman with intentionally killing the child and abandoning her. The charge of Tampering with Physical Evidence alleges that Layman concealed the body of the infant near a rock at the end of Hornbeck Avenue in Port Jervis.
Layman faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in state prison on the charge of Murder in the Second Degree.
District Attorney Hoovler thanked the City of Port Jervis Police Department, for their investigation and the arrest of Layman, as well as the New York State Police and the Office of the Orange County Medical Examiner, who assisted in the investigation.
“Consigning an infant to die of exposure is unnecessary, illegal, and barbaric,” District Attorney David Hoovler. “Help is available within Orange County for those who believe they are unable to care for their children. It is hard to comprehend what could drive any mother to kill her own baby by abandoning her in freezing cold conditions in a vacant lot. I am grateful to the City of Port Jervis Police Department for their tireless actions in pursuing this investigation.”
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Christopher Kelly and Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Kontos.
This criminal charge is merely an allegation that a defendant has committed a violation of the criminal law, and it is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the State of New York’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.