The Blackstone woman charged with murdering two of her own children pleaded not guilty to nine new charges at an arraignment in Worcester Superior Court on Monday. She was ordered held without bail.
Erika Murray, 31, was arrested and held on $1 million bail in September after the remains of three babies were found in the squalid home that she lived in with her boyfriend and four other children, aged 5 months to 13 years old. The home—which was filled with pests, feces, animal skeletons, and used diapers – was demolished in October.
Murray was initially charged with fetal death concealment out of wedlock pending autopsy results saying if the three dead babies found in the Blackstone home were born alive and how they died if so. Earlier this month, she was indicted on two counts of murder after two of those children were determined to have been born alive. She was also charged with one count of fetal death concealment out of wedlock for the third baby, two counts of assault and battery with serious bodily injury for two of her living children, and two counts of reckless endangerment for the other two living children.
In court today, Assistant District Attorney John Bradley detailed accounts of what the home looked like when law enforcement first discovered it last fall. Bradley told the court that Murray’s four living children were discovered in their bedrooms covered in feces. One child had maggots in her ears, Bradley said. The dead babies were found wrapped in sweatpants and blankets in a closet and a box. Two of the dead infants were allegedly found clothed. The prosecution claims that Murray killed the babies because her boyfriend did not want any more children.
Murray’s lawyer, Keith Halpern, told the court that the medical examiner has deemed it impossible to determine a cause of death for the two babies who were born alive and that police “put words in her mouth.’’ Halpern has said Murray has mental health problems and that officials cannot prove she caused the babies’ deaths.
Raymond Rivera, the father of the children, claimed in November that he knew nothing about the deaths or the state of the home because he lived in the basement. He now faces seven charges, including two counts of assault and battery on a child.
Murray and Rivera’s two older children are currently living with family members. The youngest two children are in custody of The Department of Children and Families.
If convicted, Murray faces life in prison. Her next court date is February 4.