Teens plead not guilty in infant death case
December 17, 1996
WILMINGTON, Delaware (CNN) -- A pair of teen-age college freshmen pleaded not guilty Tuesday on charges they killed their newborn son.
A bail motion and other defense requests were also to be argued Tuesday.
High school sweethearts Brian Peterson Jr. and his girlfriend, Amy Grossberg, both 18, were indicted December 9 on two felony counts -- first degree murder and murder by abuse or neglect in the first degree.
The body of their newborn son was found in a Newark, Delaware, motel trash bin last month. An autopsy revealed the baby died from a fractured skull.
Attorneys are likely to enter not guilty pleas for both teens at the hearing Tuesday. A gag order has been issued on the case, but attorneys for the two said last month that while the pair clearly was in the wrong, they were not vicious criminals.
"Amy is an 18-year-old young lady who's scared to death about what's happening," said Charles Oberly, Grossberg's attorney.
Peterson's attorney, Joseph Hurley, said his client is guilty of exercising "horrible judgment."
"You don't have two 18-year-old kids go into a hotel and have a baby without medical training and say he's innocent," said Hurley. "He did something wrong, but we're not sure what he did wrong."
Peterson, a student at Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, drove three hours to Newark on November 12 and picked up Grossberg at her dormitory at the University of Delaware and checked into a motel, according to police. Authorities said Peterson admitted helping deliver the baby and putting it in a trash bin, where it was found the next day.
Grossberg returned to her dorm, but was arrested when she was hospitalized for apparent complications from the birth. Peterson went into hiding, but turned himself in on November 21.
The two have been held without bail since their arrest because Delaware law does not allow bail in capital cases. Defense attorneys, however, filed a motion for bail, and prosecutors will have to prove their evidence warrants denial of bail.
Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty in the first degree murder charge. The murder by neglect charge cannot lead to the death penalty, but it is easier to prove.Correspondent Gary Tuchman contributed to this report.
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