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Teens accused of son's death may be released on bond


Defense: fetus suffered from brain damage

January 16, 1997
Web posted at: 9:15 p.m. EST

WILMINGTON, Delaware (CNN) -- A prosecutor from the Delaware attorney general's office told CNN Thursday there has been no decision on whether to seek the death penalty against two teen-agers who allegedly killed their newborn son.

In addition, prosecutors from that office said they will not oppose a defense effort to allow the teens to be released on bail.

"What sentence the state will ultimately seek remains undecided. At this time, a decision is premature," prosecuting attorney Paul Wallace said.


Amy Grossberg and Brian Peterson are accused of murdering the infant last year, after delivering him in secrecy in a Delaware motel and putting him in a trash dumpster. The state said the child died from a fractured skill, but defense attorneys said that's not what happened.

"There is incontrovertible evidence that the infant suffered from congenital brain damage that occurred months before the birthing, and what we also said in court was that the mother's health was seriously compromised, which also affects the viability of the infant," said Jack Litman, Peterson's attorney.

A hearing was to be held next week in which defense attorneys were to try to convince a judge that bail should be allowed. For the prosecution, that would entail divulging much of its evidence.


Prosecutors said they decided they did not want to reveal the elements of their case during the bail hearing, so they agreed to let the judge release the teens on bond as long as certain security precautions were followed.

"The state has determined that the safety of the community is not at risk, and the potential of flight can be minimized by setting sufficient surety and conditions of bail," said Wallace in a letter to the presiding judge.

The prosecutors are requesting a $500,000 bond and electronic monitoring for each of the 18-year-olds. A hearing is scheduled Tuesday afternoon. The teens' trial is set for September.

Correspondent Gary Tuchman contributed to this report


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