Liverpool A 30-year-old town of Clay woman charged with suffocating her newborn daughter on Jan. 6, 2011, lodged a last-minute plea to first-degree manslaughter to avoid a trial for second-degree murder.
Nicole DeJaynes was arrested for murder eight days after an infant girl was found dead in a dumpster in the parking lot of the Pearl Street Apartments in the village of Liverpool. She was indicted by a county grand jury on Nov. 17, 2011.
DeJaynes pleaded guilty to the lesser charge on Monday morning, July 9, before County Court Judge Anthony Aloi in downtown Syracuse.
If convicted of second-degree murder, she could have been sentenced to a maximum of 25 years to life in prison. Even if a jury had convicted DeJaynes of first-degree manslaughter, Aloi could have sent her to state prison for up to 25 years.
Instead, on Monday Aloi promised he’d sentence her to 13 years behind bars while also ordering post-release supervision of two and a half years. Sentencing is scheduled for July 30.
She’ll be eligible for release in 11 years and two months, but her defense attorney, Thomas Ryan, estimated she could out of jail in less than a decade because she already served 18 months at the Corbett Justice Center as she awaited trial.
DeJaynes’ plea — known in the legal profession as an Alford plea — allows a defendant to plead guilty to a particular charge while making no statements whatsoever regarding specific facts or actions committed during the crime.
Ryan said his client, who claimed she was unaware that she was pregnant, panicked after the baby’s birth in the Hiddenbrook Terrace apartments.
“From the beginning she made a statement that she felt child was not alive,” Ryan said Monday. “She made efforts to try to revive the child, which did not result in any indication of life to her. So it has been her position from the beginning that she did not do anything intentionally to cause the death of this child, if in fact it was born alive.”