Judge Robert Morin ruled Wednesday that Sosefina Amoa, the woman accused of killing her newborn child, will remain held after lawyers in the case waived Amoa’s preliminary hearing. Amoa, 26, is charged with felony first-degree murder in the case.
Prosecutors allege that Amoa hid her pregnancy, lied about delivering her own baby, then lied when she said she found the child outside in the cold.
On October 11, at approximately 11:00 a.m., Amoa brought her unconscious infant son to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. Charging documents state that an autopsy revealed the cause of death to be asphyxiation, and the death was ruled a homicide.
Documents say that Amoa told police she recently moved to the United States from Samoa to join the “Little Sisters of the Poor” convent in Northeast D.C. and become a nun. During her interview, Amoa told police she didn’t know she was pregnant, but later said she didn’t want anyone at the convent to know about her previous sexual encounters.
Both parties agreed to waive Tuesday’s preliminary hearing, but Amoa’s defense attorney, Judith Pipe, cautioned that the decision was “not in a concession in any way.”
Pipe argued that Amoa should be part of a supervised release program. Pipe said in court that through contact with “the covenant and other people in the community,” she found an apartment that Amoa would be “welcome to stay in.”
Pipe promised that Amoa would surrender her passport, and noted that Amoa had limited means to leave the country. The risk that Amoa would not return to court could be “easily remedied,” Pipe said.
Prosecutor Cynthia Wright countered that it’s “clear that by killing her own child, something is wrong with her. The safety of the community is paramount.”
Pipe disagreed, noting a “tremendous outpouring of support” for Amoa. She further argued that Amoa’s videotaped interview may rely on “questionable tactics” and “a language barrier.”
“Even if [the allegations are] true, there are lots of facts to suggest that she’s not responsible for her actions.” Pipe said.
Judge Morin explained that his ruling was based on the affidavit, which “establishes substantial probability that the defendant committed the offenses which she was accused of doing.” As a result, Judge Morin found “no conditions or accommodations that will protect the safety of the community.”
Amoa wept quietly during the hearing. She remains held pending a status hearing scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on November 21.