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Suppress confession, lawyers argue

They say a woman who gave birth and stuffed the child into a toilet tank was not able to consent.

ALLENTOWN Lawyers for an Allentown woman charged with killing her newborn after secretly giving birth in a bar's bathroom want her statements to police kept out of her capital-murder trial, arguing that they violate her constitutional rights.

A day after Amanda C. Hein's baby was found dead in a toilet tank at Starters Pub in Lower Saucon Township, Northampton County, Hein admitted that the boy had been born alive and said she could not explain what she had done, township Police Officer James Connell testified.

In pretrial motions filed Friday, defense lawyers Michael Corriere and Vivian Zumas sought to have that interrogation suppressed, saying that while Hein waived her right against self-incrimination, the "totality of the circumstances" left her unable to knowingly and intelligently do so.

Connell has said Hein cried during the Aug. 20 interview, talked of suicide, said she belonged in jail, and at one point broke down and screamed. Afterward, emergency medical workers took her to St. Luke's University Hospital in Fountain Hill, where she committed herself to the psychiatric ward, the defense filing says.

The motions also argue that police improperly seized a cellphone and journal from Hein, and her medical, psychiatric, and psychological records from St. Luke's and the Lehigh Valley Hospital Network.

The motions also seek a jury from outside the county, citing pretrial publicity.

Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli did not return a phone call for comment Friday.

Hein, 27, is said to have kept her pregnancy secret from those around her, given birth in a stall, then returned to her friends and watched the hour-long conclusion of a wrestling pay-per-view event for which they had gone to the bar.

On Aug. 19, cleaners found the body after the toilet would not flush. Opening the tank, employees uncovered a boy of 33 to 36 weeks' gestation wrapped in a plastic bag that had lined a small garbage can in the stall, authorities say.

A trial is set for April. If Hein is convicted of first-degree murder, prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty.