Mother of Abandoned ‘Baby Noel’ Acquitted of Attempted Murder
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By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia woman who discarded her newborn baby in a cardboard box on a North Philadelphia street a few days before Christmas last year has been acquitted of attempt murder and aggravated assault charges.
But the defendant has been convicted of lesser charges, including endangering the welfare of the child.
Patricia Crawley, 33, admitted to police that she put her newborn daughter, umbilical cord still attached, inside the cardboard box that was left on North 27th Street (see related stories).
The judge cited Crawley’s statement in reaching the verdicts. Crawley had told police she was on a crack binge, was embarrassed, didn’t have a phone, and expected and prayed that the baby would be found by a passerby.
Until the mother was located and arrested months later (see related story), the baby was known as “Baby Noel” (see related story) because she was found a few days before Christmas (another related story).
“For attempted murder (or) aggravated assault, you have to find she intended to harm the baby or kill the baby,” said defense attorney Patrick Link afterward. “And when you are in that situation, a judge or jury is basically left to read the mind of the defendant.”
The prosecutor argued for an attempted murder conviction, saying it was just luck that the baby was found by a man working in the area who took the box for trash when he heard the baby crying.
The child survived but was hospitalized for nine days.
Crawley, who remains in custody, will be sentenced in December.