The woman accused of killing her newborn son at the convent where she was training to become a nun will remain in jail, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Sosefina Amoa, 26, was charged October 16 with first-degree felony murder in the death of her baby, whom she and a nun brought to Providence Hospital in a black luggage bag the previous week.
The judge ordered Wednesday that Amoa remain in jail. She is being held without bond. At the preliminary hearing, the U.S. Attorney's Office offered her a plea deal. Under the plea deal, Amoa would plead guilty to one count of voluntary manslaughter. Defense attorneys asked for her release.
Amoa cried in court Wednesday as she listened to a Samoan interpreter.
An autopsy conducted on the baby determined that he was born at full-term gestation and weighed more than six pounds. The medical examiner said the baby had breathed and had bruises on his nose.
The baby's death came less than a week after Amoa arrived in the United States from Samoa on Oct. 5. She had been receiving religious training at Little Sisters of the Poor, a convent and home for poor senior citizens in Northeast D.C.
According to police documents, Amoa began experiencing contractions in her room at the convent last Thursday, Oct. 10, and "felt like something was coming out of her stomach." She said while she was leaning on her bed about 15 to 20 minutes later, the baby was born and fell straight down, hitting the floor, the documents say.
She initially told police that the baby was born not breathing. However, during a second interview with police six days later, Amoa told officers that she covered the newborn's face because she was scared the nuns would hear him crying.
"She said that she placed a black wool garment over the child's nose and mouth and applied pressure with her hand for two to three minutes," the documents say.
The documents go on to say that Amoa allegedly considered putting the baby's body into the trash, but thought that would be "a wrong thing to do."
While she told police conflicting reports, she eventually told them she had known she was pregnant.
Authorities say she kept the baby in her room overnight, and in the morning, found a nun and told her she'd found the baby outside before later admitting the baby was hers. They took the baby to Providence Hospital.
The medical examiner ruled the baby's cause of death as asphyxia, and the manner of death was deemed a homicide.
Law enforcement officers found blood-soaked clothing during a search of Amoa's room at the convent, as well as a placenta with part of the umbilical cord attached. They said they suspect Amoa had cleaned up the room after delivery because there were only small traces of blood.
Amoa told law enforcement officers that she last had a period in February and hadn't had sexual intercourse since April. She admitted she hadn't told the nuns at Little Sisters about her previous sexual encounters.
She told police she had named the baby Joseph.
"It's a very tragic situation for everyone involved," said Sister Constance with Little Sisters of the Poor in a statement issued last week. "We're praying for Sosefina and the baby. Because it's now a police investigation, there' nothing else we can say."
The U.S. Attorney's Office says Amoa could be deported.