Andrea Curry-Demu found Guilty, but insane, of murdering Kia Johnson in Fetus Snatch Case

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Normal Andrea Curry-Demu found Guilty, but insane, of murdering Kia Johnson in Fetus Snatch Case

Post by NiteSpinR on Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:37 am

Another ONE!!!!
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Updated: 6:29 pm EST January 13, 2010

PITTSBURGH -- The trial continued Wednesday for a woman accused of cutting a baby from the womb of a pregnant teenager and passing it off as her own.

Andrea Curry-Demus, of Wilkinsburg, is accused of cutting a baby from 18-year-old Kia Johnson's womb in July 2008.

The Commonwealth put forensic pathologist on the stand on Wednesday. He told the court the medicine in Johnson’s system was not an anesthetic, so she was painfully aware of what was happening.

The prosecution showed graphic drawings of the incision to remove the baby from Johnson that indicated she did not give up her child without a fight.

Channel 11 reporter Renee Kaminski was in court when surveillance video was shown of Johnson meeting Demus-Curry in an elevator at the jail in July. The two were visiting fathers of their respective children.

Prosecutor Mark Tanquilli said the video of the victim and defendant sharing an elevator is proof of Curry-Demus’ carefully crafted plot to befriend Johnson and to lure her back to her Wilkinsburg apartment.

Curry-Demus' sister, Brooke Curry, took the stand on Tuesday, saying her sister was holding a newborn and had blood on her nightgown after claiming she had given birth.

Brooke Curry said she went to her sister's Wilkinsburg apartment after she called and said she had just given birth in the bathroom.

Brooke Curry testified Tuesday that she didn't have anything to do with cutting the baby from Johnson's belly. She said she didn't even know a woman had been killed until police told her.

Prosecutors contend Curry-Demus met Johnson at the Allegheny County Jail in July 2008; Johnson was visiting her unborn son's father and Curry-Demus was visiting her husband. Somehow, Curry-Demus lured Johnson, of McKeesport, to her Wilkinsburg apartment to steal the baby, according to prosecutors.

Johnson's body -- bound with duct tape and wrapped in plastic wrap and a comforter -- was found stuffed under a headboard, her mouth full of plastic wrap.

The baby, Terrell Kian Johnson, survived the attack. He is living with relatives.

Curry-Demus is charged with homicide -- which covers first-, second-, third-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter -- and kidnapping. Curry-Demus chose last week to have Judge Jeffrey Manning decide her case rather than a jury.

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Normal Curry-Demus had served about eight years in prison for kidnapping another woman's baby in May 1990

Post by Nama on Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:28 am

A woman accused of cutting a baby from a pregnant teenager, killing her, and passing the baby off as her own, had not been pregnant, even though she told her family she was, according to a prosecutor and her doctor.

Andrea Curry-Demus, 40, put her name on an ultrasound picture of a fetus and gave it to her mother, who threw a baby shower for her.

Her mother, Sharon Curry, testified at her daughter's trial on homicide and kidnapping charges Monday that she was excited at learning she would be a grandmother for the first time in late fall 2007.

"I was on cloud nine," she testified. "I was very, very happy."

But while a doctor told Curry-Demus, of Wilkinsburg, a Pittsburgh suburb, that she may be pregnant based on a urine test, a blood test showed she was not. Dr. Karen Velazquez testified Curry-Demus was not pregnant.

While Curry-Demus held herself out to be pregnant, she plotted to get a baby, according to prosecutor Mark Tranquilli.

That happened when she met and befriended Kia Johnson, 18, of McKeesport, at the Allegheny County Jail, in July 2008. Johnson was visiting her unborn son's father and Curry-Demus was visiting her husband. Curry-Demus lured Johnson to her apartment to steal the baby, Tranquilli said.

Johnson's body — bound with duct tape and wrapped in plastic wrap and a comforter — was found stuffed behind a headboard. The baby, Terrell Kian Johnson, survived and is living with relatives.

Johnson's mother and father were in court, her mother wiping back tears, but had to leave when Tranquilli described how Johnson was found.

After hiding Johnson's body, Curry-Demus told her mother and sister that she gave birth in her bathroom. When hospital tests showed she did not give birth, Curry-Demus told police that she bought the baby for $1,000 from a young woman she knew as Tina, according to testimony.

Curry-Demus said she bought Tina clothes "because of the kindness of my heart," according to her taped confession played in court.

Investigators eventually found Johnson's body after initially being misled by Curry-Demus' sister, Brooke Curry, who had shown them her own apartment and told them it was that of Curry-Demus. The sisters lived in different apartments in the apartment building.

Tranquilli said Brooke Curry had nothing to do with Johnson's death and lied to help her sister, not knowing the truth. Brooke Curry is expected to testify Tuesday.

Defense attorney Christopher Patarini will try to convince an Allegheny County judge that Curry-Demus is not guilty by reason of insanity. She chose last week to have Judge Jeffrey Manning decide her case rather than a jury.

Patarini told Manning that Curry-Demus has a history of mental problems and that a defense psychiatrist will testify that she was preoccupied with delusions of being pregnant. Curry-Demus had a "break with reality," he said, and how she went about getting a baby was consistent with her severe psychosis.

Tranquilli acknowledged that Curry-Demus has mental problems but said he would show that she knew what she was doing was wrong.

He said Curry-Demus sliced the baby from Johnson while she was still alive and that Johnson died of combination of blood loss and suffocation. Curry-Demus wrapped Johnson's head in plastic and duct tape, which showed she intended to kill her, he said.

Curry-Demus had served about eight years in prison for kidnapping another woman's baby in May 1990. Because that woman had testified against Curry-Demus, "She knew she could not leave Kia Johnson alive," Tranquilli said.

He told Manning that the proper verdict would be guilty of first- or second-degree murder, but mentally ill. That would mean Curry-Demus would undergo mental health treatment and serve her life-sentence in either a mental facility or prison.

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Normal Re: Andrea Curry-Demu found Guilty, but insane, of murdering Kia Johnson in Fetus Snatch Case

Post by Nama on Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:29 am

A psychiatrist testified for more than three hours Thursday that Andrea Curry-Demus had a history of mental illness and was delusional when she cut a baby from the womb of a McKeesport teenager.

"As a result of her underlying psychosis, she's unable to appreciate between right and wrong," said Dr. Barbara E. Ziv during the Wilkinsburg woman's homicide trial. "I think it's likely she was psychotic. It's the sum total of 20 years of psychotic behavior and the bizarre act of the crime itself."

Ziv's testimony is the centerpiece of the defense for Curry-Demus, 40, who is on trial for the July 2008 death of Kia Johnson, 18. Defense attorney Christopher Patarini is seeking a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Deputy District Attorney Mark V. Tranquilli plans to call psychiatrist Dr. Bruce Wright to the stand today to counter Ziv's claims. Wright's testimony likely will conclude the trial.

Ziv testified at length about Curry-Demus' history of mental illness. She said that past doctors diagnosed Curry-Demus with psychosis and having delusions of pregnancies and children. Ziv diagnosed her with delusional disorder.

"Her beliefs are non-consistent with reality," Ziv said.

Curry-Demus and Johnson were together several times at the Allegheny County Jail visiting inmates in the days leading up to the killing. Johnson was visiting the father of her child, and Curry-Demus was visiting her husband.

Curry-Demus is accused of drugging Johnson, binding her wrists and ankles with duct tape and cutting the baby out of her womb. Tranquilli contends that Curry-Demus placed tape over Johnson's eyes and mouth, keeping her alive until the baby was born, then wrapping plastic wrap and more tape over Johnson's face to kill her.

Curry-Demus went to West Penn Hospital in Bloomfield with the baby, claiming she had just given birth. After doctors determined that wasn't medically possible, Curry-Demus said she bought the baby for $1,000, according to testimony. The baby survived.

When Judge Jeffrey A. Manning asked Ziv questions about Curry-Demus' mental capacity, the psychiatrist said "subsequent to the event, she knew what she was doing was wrong."

Manning must decide the degree of Curry-Demus' mental illness, if there is any. Tranquilli asked for a verdict of first-degree murder but mentally ill -- a crime that carries a life sentence in a prison hospital.

The judge could find that Curry-Demus' mental illness diminished her mental capacity and instead convict her of third-degree murder, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 to 40 years in prison.

Manning also could side with Patarini and acquit Curry-Demus, ruling that she's legally insane.

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Normal Re: Andrea Curry-Demu found Guilty, but insane, of murdering Kia Johnson in Fetus Snatch Case

Post by Nama on Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:31 am

Andrea Curry-Demus

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Normal Re: Andrea Curry-Demu found Guilty, but insane, of murdering Kia Johnson in Fetus Snatch Case

Post by Nama on Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:52 am

A woman who lured a pregnant teenager to her apartment, drugged her, cut out her baby, then killed her and tried to pass the infant off as hers was found guilty but mentally ill of second-degree murder and kidnapping.

Monday's verdict against Andrea Curry-Demus, while supported by evidence of her long history of mental illness, was "perhaps more merciful than the defendant deserves," Allegheny County Judge Jeffrey Manning said.

In finding Curry-Demus not guilty of first-degree murder, Manning said he wasn't satisfied that her psychotic delusions allowed her to form the intent to kill.

Curry-Demus, 40, of Wilkinsburg, will be formally sentenced in March, but the second-degree murder conviction carries an automatic life prison sentence without parole. She will serve part of her sentence in a prison mental hospital until doctors conclude her illness improves enough for her to serve the rest in prison.

Prosecutors sought a first-degree murder conviction, which would have carried the same penalty as the second-degree murder count because prosecutors weren't seeking the death penalty. The defense wanted her found not guilty by reason of insanity.

The family of the 18-year-old victim, Kia Johnson, of McKeesport, was relieved Curry-Demus will spend the rest of her life behind bars, but some members discounted her claims of mental illness.

"She's cold. She has ice running through her blood. For her to do something like this, you have to be a monster," said Johnson's mother, Darlene Lee, 45.

Manning, the prosecution and defense all agreed Curry-Demus was obsessed with babies. She has no children, but claimed to have had miscarriages and a baby who died of sudden infant death syndrome.

Curry-Demus met Johnson at the Allegheny County Jail in July 2008 while visiting different inmates. She had already been telling her family and friends that she was pregnant. She even put her name on another woman's ultrasound picture to show people and decorated a nursery.

Prosecutor Mark Tranquilli had evidence that showed Curry-Demus befriended Johnson with offers of clothes for her unborn son and offered her a ride home from the jail on July 15, 2008.

After getting Johnson to her Wilkinsburg apartment, Curry-Demus drugged her, bound her with duct tape and cut the baby from her. She wrapped Johnson's body in more tape, plastic wrap and bags and a comforter before stuffing it in a space behind Curry-Demus' bed.

Curry-Demus then told her sister, who lived across the hall, that she had just given birth. Her story began to unravel after hospital tests showed she wasn't the mother. She initially told police she bought the baby from a crack addict for $1,000, but police found Johnson's body after people began reporting a stench coming from her apartment.

Manning recounted those steps, saying they beckon responses such as, "She must be crazy."

"Being crazy, doing something insane, does not mean you are not criminally responsible," he said.

Lee said she hopes Curry-Demus gets no peace in prison and that she sees her daughter "when she lays down in the bed to go to sleep at night, when she wakes up in the morning." She also said she hopes to forgive Curry-Demus someday, saying harboring anger won't change anything.

Eric Johnson said his daughter volunteered with him at the local Salvation Army feeding the homeless and worked as candy striper at a hospital. He said he knows she is in heaven looking down on her son, Kian. The boy, 18 months old, is doing well and living with relatives, he said.

Curry-Demus chose to have Manning decide the case instead of a jury. He also found her guilty but mentally ill of unlawful restraint.

Her attorney, Christopher Patarini, said they were disappointed in the outcome, but he had not discussed with her the possibility of an appeal.

Johnson's killing was not the first time Curry-Demus tried to get an infant. In May 1990, she stabbed a woman in an apparent plot to steal her newborn and the next day kidnapped another baby from a hospital.

She pleaded guilty in January 1991 to kidnapping, concealing the whereabouts of a child and related offenses, and was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison. She also pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and was placed on probation for 10 years.

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Normal When 18-month-old Terrell Kian Johnson is old enough, his grandfather will tell him how the boy's mom was a great dancer. That she loved to play charades. That the boy looks just like her.

Post by Nama on Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:56 am


Darlene Lee, Kia Johnson's mother, after the verdict Monday.

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When 18-month-old Terrell Kian Johnson is old enough, his grandmother will tell him what a wonderful person his mother was.

His grandfather will tell him how the boy's mom was a great dancer. That she loved to play charades. That the boy looks just like her.

But, Eric Johnson said Monday, he will also explain to his grandson how his mother was killed, and that, no matter what, she is the boy's angel, looking out for him.

"It is what it is. We love his mom," Mr. Johnson said. "She's up above watching out over him. She really is. She's an angel."

Kia Johnson, 18, of McKeesport, was killed in July 2008, after the baby she was carrying -- Kian, as the family now calls him -- was cut from her womb.

On Monday, Allegheny County Judge Jeffrey A. Manning found the woman who was responsible guilty but mentally ill of second-degree murder -- which is the killing of someone during the commission of another felony, in this case kidnapping.

Though she will not be formally sentenced until March 23, Andrea Curry-Demus, 40, will spend the rest of her life in prison. Because she was found guilty but mentally ill, prison officials will have to provide her with mental health treatment.

At her request, Ms. Curry-Demus will be taken to Torrance State Hospital for a mental health evaluation to aid in sentencing.

Judge Manning refused to find Ms. Curry-Demus not guilty by reason of insanity.

In announcing his verdict, he characterized the woman's acts as "bizarre, depraved and malevolent."

"There must be few crimes as indescribably brutal and vicious as this," Judge Manning said. "To entice and entrap a pregnant teenager; to paralyze her with a drug; to slice an infant from her womb while she writhed in agony; and then to methodically mummify her head in plastic and duct tape, depriving her of breath, life and the opportunity to be a mother so the defendant could proclaim her own maternity doubtlessly invokes responses: 'She's got to be crazy!' 'No one could do something like that unless they were crazy.' "

But, he went on, that doesn't mean that she is not criminally responsible.

Judge Manning listened to a week's worth of testimony earlier this month in a nonjury trial. Prosecutors presented evidence that Ms. Curry-Demus took Ms. Johnson back to her apartment and drugged her. She then put the woman's body in a bathtub and cut the baby from her womb. Ms. Johnson's head and face were then wrapped in a mask of multiple layers of duct tape, plastic wrap and garbage bags. A forensic pathologist testified that she would have suffocated within 90 seconds.

Ms. Curry-Demus phoned her family the morning of July 16 to tell them she had just given birth. Paramedics took her and the baby to West Penn Hospital, but doctors quickly determined Ms. Curry-Demus had not given birth.

When investigators spoke to her, the woman gave them several different stories. Ultimately, police found Ms. Johnson's body was wrapped inside a comforter in a void space behind Ms. Curry-Demus' bed on July 18.

Two psychiatrists testified as experts in the case. Both said that Ms. Curry-Demus exhibits signs of various mental illnesses. The expert for the prosecution said the woman was not legally insane when the crime was committed. The defense expert disagreed.

Following the verdict yesterday, Ms. Johnson's mother, Darlene Lee, said she doesn't believe that Ms. Curry-Demus is mentally ill.

"It was premeditated. She thought about what she was going to do. She already knew what she was going to do," Ms. Lee said. "I don't see how anybody that's human could do the things that she did to her. She's not human. She's a monster. She's Satan's seed."

Ms. Lee is happy that Ms. Curry-Demus will be imprisoned for life.

"It relieves a lot of the anger, the depression that I have, knowing that she will not ever be able to do something like this to somebody else," she said.

As for forgiveness, Ms. Lee said she doesn't believe Ms. Curry-Demus can apologize.

"There's nothing that she can say to me. There's no sorry. There's nothing," Ms. Lee said. "She was taking a life to get a life. So she lost.

"I lost, and she lost."

Several members of Ms. Johnson's family noted Ms. Curry-Demus' behavior during the trial. She sat staring straight ahead, with a blank expression. She never looked at larger-than-life photographs of the crime scene or the victim that prosecutors showed on a large screen in the courtroom. She showed no emotion at the verdict.

"She don't have no type of feelings, no type of anything," Ms. Lee said. "She's cold. She has ice running through her blood. Not blood. For her to do something like this, you have to be a monster."

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