Mom charged with attempted murder for putting baby in trash can
Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins filed attempted murder charges on Monday against a 33-year-old woman accused of giving birth all alone in the bathroom of a house she was cleaning and then disposing of the live infant in a trash can on Dorchester Avenue in the Lower Mills section of Boston.
The baby was rescued on Friday when a woman heard crying coming from the trash can and notified emergency personnel in an ambulance parked nearby who investigated and found a baby boy in a “knotted plastic bag.”
Marie Merisier, 33, was arraigned for attempted murder and reckless endangerment of a child and held on bail of $100,000.
The case could be a challenging one for Rollins, who has gained a reputation for taking the personal circumstances of each crime into account when deciding whether to prosecute. The circumstances in this case are particularly troubling.
Merisier reportedly speaks only Haitian. She has no family here and has little money after being laid off from a job at a Haitian restaurant at the start of the pandemic. Given her circumstances, Merisier’s attorney said, the $100,000 bail essentially amounts to holding her without bail.
“This case involved an impossible, complicated set of questions about mental health, prepartum and postpartum, hormonal, emotional and mental health crises,” said Merisier’s defense attorney, Cristina Rodrigues.
Merisier is scheduled to return to Dorchester District Court on March 29 for a probable cause hearing.
Early on in her tenure as district attorney, Rollins stirred controversy by publicly stating she would not file charges in cases involving low-level crimes such as trespassing, shoplifting, larceny, disorderly conduct, threats, possession of alcohol for minors, possession of non-marijuana drugs, possession with intent to distribute, destruction of property, breaking and entering to escape cold or to sleep, and driving with a suspended license.
In a statement Monday, Rollins walked a fine line between concern for the baby and the mother. She said she visited the baby in the hospital on Saturday and “was so happy to see nurses pampering, spoiling, and singing to, feeding, and generally pouring love and affection into this beautiful child.”
Rollins also raised concerns about the mother. “Although some may not be able to imagine the amount of pain, fear, disassociation, or mental anguish one must be experiencing to engage in the behavior we alleged she did, it is very real,” she said. “And it is important that parents know that if they are feeling overwhelmed or scared there are resources available to them. If parents are unprepared or unable to care for a child, they can legally surrender a newborn up to seven days old under the Safe Haven Act. This situation did not have to happen. But we need to make sure that parents of newborns know they have options if they feel hopeless, depressed, an inability to bond, or are having thoughts of harm to themselves or the child. Nobody should ever suffer in silence, but no harm should ever come to any child either.”
Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone says he won’t stand for reelection, stirring speculation that he might be considering a run for governor. He has only $22,684 in his campaign account.
Gov. Charlie Baker says the state should receive a limited supply of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine next week, but a significant amount will not be available until the end of the month.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren files legislation creating a tax on wealth — 2 percent on those worth more than $50 million and 3 percent on those worth more than $1 billion. The revenue would be used for society-changing investments.
If Baker opts not to run for governor, a new poll from the Fiscal Alliance Foundation suggests the state Republican Party would likely be split along Trump fault lines.
Opinion: Peter Enrich, professor emeritus at Northeastern University School of Law, and Kurt Wise of the liberal-leaning Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center urge rejection of the “double-dip” PPP tax break. Paul Craney of the conservative Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance earlier argued that PPP revenue should not be taxed.
FROM AROUND THE WEB
The state’s “balky unemployment system” has frustrated workers trying to secure benefits, compounding the financial stress they have faced from losing jobs due to the pandemic. (Boston Globe)
Slight majorities of both Republican and Democratic voters give Gov. Charlie Baker bad grades for the vaccine rollout, according to a poll commissioned by the conservative advocacy group Mass Fiscal Alliance. (Boston Herald)
The Massachusetts Lottery raises its profit projection by $45 million. (State House News Service)
Former state senator Stephen Buoniconti leaves a longtime job as legal counsel for the Hampden County Regional Retirement Board after an audit says the board is poorly managed — and an arrangement giving Buoniconti a salary and health benefits was illegal under state law. (MassLive)
Boston City Councilor Ed Flynn is calling for a hearing on workplace safety oversight following the death last week of two construction workers at a construction site in the financial district. (Boston Globe)
A regional vaccination clinic in Northampton turned away people with appointments on Monday after the state failed to deliver the vaccines it promised. (Daily Hampshire Gazette) Hospitals and hospital systems are getting back to vaccinating their patients this week. (Boston Magazine)
UMass Memorial is considering closing down the DCU Center field hospital by mid-March amid declining COVID patient counts. (Telegram & Gazette)
Volunteers are coming together to offer help securing vaccine appointments. (Boston Herald)
Since 2001, local boards of health have been training volunteers to administer vaccines. Now, those volunteers aren’t being used, since Gov. Baker shifted vaccinations away from local boards of health. (MassLive)
A third woman has come forward to allege unwanted advances by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. (New York Times)
City Councilor Michelle Wu, who is a candidate for mayor, is releasing a plan to expand early childhood education that would also establish a city office to coordinate such services. (Boston Globe)
Gov. Charlie Baker extends a ban barring utilities from shutting off service due to unpaid bills until July 1. Studies show unpaid utility bills are mounting during the pandemic, especially for small businesses. (Salem News)
A national group of academics, historians, and K-12 educators is calling for a major boost to civics education in the country to strengthen understanding of, and belief in, principles of democratic self-governance. (Washington Post)
Boston Prep, a charter school serving students in grades 6-12, has figured out a way to provide in-person instruction amid the pandemic. (Boston Globe)
The Telegram & Gazette profiles the student who spurred a controversial debate over whether to change the Colonials mascot at Shrewsbury High.
Twenty-one lawmakers sign a letter asking teachers to be prioritized for the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. (MassLive)
An author of children’s books and two illustrators complain about what they viewed as the racist depiction of a Chinese man taken from a Dr. Seuss book and used as part of a display for a festival at the Seuss museum in Springfield. The festival was canceled and the decision is stirring controversy, particularly from Mayor Domenic Sarno. (Daily Hampshire Gazette) Meanwhile, six Dr. Seuss books will no longer be published because of racist images, according to the business that preserves the author’s legacy. (Berkshire Eagle)
Movie making remains a busy industry in Massachusetts, with numerous films being shot in the state, despite the pandemic. (The Patriot Ledger)
Some of the state’s regional transportation authorities are using an app allowing riders to order a van ride much like an Uber or Lyft. The fee is $3 for a ride but the fee is waived if the rider travels to a fixed bus route. (GBH)
A Fall River police officer who is a defendant in a civil lawsuit over a 2019 shooting death may now be the focus of an FBI investigation of an allegation of excessive use of force on a prisoner in police custody last December. (Herald News)
Attorney General Maura Healey sues an orthodontist operating out of six locations, alleging he kept children in braces longer than necessary to bilk the state Medicaid program out of funds. (Dorchester Reporter) The locations are in Dorchester, Lynn, Framingham, Lawrence, Lowell, and Somerville. (Daily Item)
In a four-part essay, Donald McNeil Jr. recounts his downfall as a reporter at the New York Times over comments he made on a school trip to Peru years earlier. (Medium)PASSINGS
Joseph Duffey, a chancellor at UMass Amherst from 1982 to 1991, died at age 88. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)