NJ woman convicted of murder in death of 17-month-old son

July 31, 2022 GMT

GLOUCESTER TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey woman has been convicted of murder in the death of her 17-month-old son but acquitted of conspiracy in an alleged murder-for-hire plot to kill a former boyfriend.

Heather Reynolds, 45, of Sicklerville wept as the Camden County jury announced its verdict Thursday, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Reynolds, who was also convicted of possession of methamphetamine and endangering the welfare of a child, faces a mandatory life prison term when she is sentenced in October.

Prosecutors alleged that Reynolds suffocated her 17-month-old son, Axel, by holding a cleansing wipe over his nose and mouth in May 2018. An autopsy concluded that the boy died from asphyxia and the manner of death was ruled a homicide.

Prosecutors also alleged that Reynolds conspired with someone else to kill a former boyfriend who had spoken to police about the child’s death, but jurors acquitted her of conspiracy to commit murder and witness-tampering, the Inquirer reported.

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Defense attorney Richard Fuschino said he plans to appeal the verdict.

“We respect very much the jury’s time, but we are devastated the jury did not find reasonable doubt,” he said.

Prosecutors alleged during trial that the defendant was driven by a drug addiction and desire to maintain an extra-martial affair and killed her son to get him out of the way. Fuschino called her a devoted mother who tried to revive her son when she found him unresponsive and then ran out holding him and screaming for help from neighbors.