MOM SPARED JAIL IN INFANT SLAYINGS.Byline: Jennifer Brown Associated Press Associated Press: see news agency.
Associated Press (AP)
Cooperative news agency, the oldest and largest in the U.S. and long the largest in the world.
A 70-year-old woman pleaded guilty Monday to serially smothering smothering
death by asphyxiation. Occurs where poultry are carelessly herded into a corner where they cannot escape and where they are piled four or five birds deep; they will die of asphyxia very quickly. See also crowding. eight babies born to her decades ago but won't go to jail so researchers can learn more about why mothers sometimes kill their newborns.
Marie Noe admitted killing the children between 1949 and 1968 and was put on probation for 20 years, with the first five years to be served in confinement con·fine·ment
1. The act of restricting or the state of being restricted in movement.
confinement to her home. Noe also must undergo mental health treatment with a psychiatrist to try to determine why she repeatedly committed infanticide infanticide (ĭnfăn`təsīd) [Lat.,=child murder], the putting to death of the newborn with the consent of the parent, family, or community. Infanticide often occurs among peoples whose food supply is insecure (e.g. .
``We needed to get this matter finalized See finalization. ,'' said District Attorney Lynne Abraham Lynne Abraham (born 1941) has been the District Attorney of the City of Philadelphia since 1991. She studied at Temple University for her undergraduate degree and also received her Juris Doctor from Temple University Beasley School of Law. . ``Is it perfect? We don't always get a perfect outcome.''
The light sentence was linked to Noe's being the sole caretaker of her ailing 77-year-old husband, Arthur, and to ``the unusual circumstances of the case and the age of the case,'' said Deputy District Attorney Charles F. Gallagher.
``It's important for the medical community and the legal community that she admit these murders, and . . . something good will come out of the analysis,'' Gallagher said at the sentencing.
``This is not one of those situations where we have a heart of a killer,'' said defense attorney David Rudenstein.
With no evidence to show otherwise, doctors and investigators reluctantly had attributed the deaths of eight children - none of whom lived longer than 14 months - to sudden infant death syndrome sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or crib death, sudden, unexpected, and unexplained death of an apparently healthy infant under one year of age (usually between two weeks and eight months old). . The Noes had two other children who died of natural causes that doctors were able to pinpoint, not SIDS SIDS sudden infant death syndrome.
sudden infant death syndrome
n See syndrome, sudden infant death. .
Police never closed the investigation, however, and Marie Noe was charged last August, a year after the case returned to the spotlight through the publication of ``The Death of Innocents,'' a book about SIDS. Also, a cover story in Philadelphia magazine brought to light the suspicions of a retired Philadelphia medical examiner A public official charged with investigating all sudden, suspicious, unexplained, or unnatural deaths within the area of his or her appointed jurisdiction. A medical examiner differs from a Coroner in that a medical examiner is a physician. who investigated two of the deaths by suffocation suffocation: see asphyxia. .
Five months before her arrest, Noe confessed to police that she suffocated four of the babies, but said she did not remember the other four deaths. During a meeting with a state psychiatrist in November, she confessed to those four killings, too, Gallagher said.
Noe walked into court Monday with a cane and an electronic monitoring bracelet around her wrist. She replied to the judge's questions with firm yes and no answers, but did not explain why she killed her children.
Her husband sat in the courtroom looking flushed and shaking his head as the names of the eight babies were read. He had maintained she was innocent and was not charged in the case. The couple refused to speak with reporters after the hearing.
``I cannot speak for him, but Arthur Noe sat in court as she admitted killing those eight babies,'' Rudenstein said. ``Does he believe she admitted that she suffocated these babies? I trust that he does. Does he believe that his wife's some evil killer? I'm sure he does not.''
Gallagher said numerous medical officials indicated that a study of Marie Noe could be valuable because so little is known about why women kill their babies.
``We want to know what possessed her to do it,'' Gallagher said. ``When she made her admissions, she indicated she did it, but she didn't say why she did it. She said she doesn't know why.''
Rudenstein predicted she will cooperate fully in a study.
``Before she passes on to the next world, she wants to understand what has occurred,'' he said.
Photo: Marie Noe
Admits killing own babies