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Jury Returns Guilty Verdict in Baby-Cut-From-Womb Murder

<p>A Massachusetts woman accused of killing her pregnant friend then cutting the baby out and claiming the child as her own was convicted of first-degree murder.</p>

A Massachusetts woman accused of beating and strangling her pregnant friend to death then cutting the baby out and claiming the child as her own was convicted of first-degree murder on Wednesday.

Julie Corey, 39, sobbed in court when a Worcester Superior Court jury found her guilty in the 2009 killing of Darlene Haynes, 23. Corey was so distraught after the verdict she had to be removed from the courtroom, NBC station WDHD reported.

“It’s probably the most horrific case this office has ever seen in terms of facts,” Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. said in a statement Wednesday. “This woman was killed for her baby.”

Prosecutors said Corey had been pregnant three months before the killing but had miscarried. Still, she managed to fake being pregnant and persuade her boyfriend and family that Haynes' baby was hers.

Corey's lawyers maintained that police didn’t pursue other potential suspects, including Haynes' former boyfriend. The defense also suggested Haynes' ex-boyfriend had given Corey and her boyfriend, Alex Dion, the baby. Dion denied that.

Defense lawyer Michael Wilcox told The Associated Press he was disappointed with the verdict and planned to appeal.

Haynes’ body was found in a closet of her Southgate Street apartment on July 27, 2009.

Prosecutors presented evidence that she had been beaten in the head and strangled late on July 23 or early July 24. DNA found on a fingerprint and a liquor bottle tied Corey to the murder scene.

Within days, officers located Corey and her boyfriend inside a car parked at a New Hampshire homeless shelter.

DNA confirmed the girl — now 4 years old and living with her biological father — was Haynes’.

Corey did not testify during the trial.

Her sentencing is scheduled for Tuesday. She faces a mandatory sentence of life without parole, prosecutors said.

Image: Julie Corey
Julie Corey stands in Worcester, Mass., Superior Court on Wednesday Feb. 12, 2014, before a jury declared her guilty of the 2009 murder of Darlene Haynes.Rick Cinclair / AP