Massachusetts mother charged with murder after 3 dead infants recovered from filthy, rat-infested home pleads not guilty
Four living children, ranging from five months to 13 years old, were also removed from the insect-infested, trash-strewn house in Blackstone
A woman from Massachusetts was charged with murder after the bodies of two infants and a fetus was recovered from her rat-infested home in 2014. The woman, identified as 35-year-old Erika Murray made an appearance in court Tuesday as her trial is underway.
Reports stated four children, ranging from five months to 13 years old, were also removed from the insect-infested, trash-strewn house in Blackstone. The house was eventually torn down by authorities. According to neighbors, the property was full of "dirty diapers, fleas, and maggots" and images shared from the house during the trial showed piles of trash mounting up in rooms.
One of Murray's neighbors, Betsy Brown, told the court: "Horrible rotting food. Dirty diapers, lots of dirty diapers, baby bottles, maggots everywhere. It was really dark and hot. It was horrible. It was the worst smell I had ever smelt." Brown reportedly alerted the authorities in August 2014 after a 10-year-old boy living in the house had come out to ask her son for help in an effort to get a baby to stop crying, according to WCVB.
Brown added that she was forced to use her own shirt to clean the faces of the children's faces as she could not find any clean item inside the house. "She had feces completely pretty much covering her. Hair, body, everything," Brown said, referring to the child. "Just everywhere you looked there was filth on the walls. There were little handprints, baby handprints, and feces. It was horrible. It was everywhere."
Clips from the scene had shown police officers and forensic teams in hazmat suits, removing bags of trash from the house. Authorities said they found the skeletons of two diapered and clothed babies, including a fetus in a closet in the house.
Reports stated at the time the children that were alive were rescued from the house, the three-year-old among them could not walk because of poor muscle tone and could only make a few sounds. A six-month-old baby among the children was extremely sensitive to sunlight. Cleaning crews reportedly took 90 hours spread over four days to clear the filth out of Murray's house before heavy machinery was used to raze the house to the ground.
"He was basically covered in human feces. He had feces on his face and hands. His diaper was soiled," Blackstone Police Officer Michael Pavone said of one of the children. The officer also added that the trash inside the house was "a couple of feet tall" with maggots everywhere.
However, Murray's attorney, Keith Halpern, during the trial Tuesday said there was no evidence his client had committed a crime. He added that Murray suffers from mental health issues which led to the squalid condition of the home. The attorney added that his client did not call authorities after the deaths of her children because she panicked. Murray has pleaded not guilty and has waived her right to a jury.
Prosecutor Christopher Hodgens said the sole reason for the babies' deaths was Murray's neglect, adding that she "needlessly allowed her children to suffer in that home, and that Erika Murray caused the deaths of two of those babies."