WASHINGTON — Prosecutors have offered a plea deal to a 26-year-old Samoan woman charged in the death of her newborn son at the convent where she was studying to become a nun.
Under the agreement offered during a hearing Wednesday in D.C. Superior Court, 26-year-old Sosefina Amoa would plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter rather than first-degree murder. A preliminary hearing in the case was waived while Amoa and the public defender representing her consider the deal.
A manslaughter charge is punishable by up to 30 years in prison, and a first-degree murder charge carries a penalty of no less than 30 years and up to life in prison, according to D.C. law.
Amoa was arrested last week after police say she gave birth to the boy at the Little Sisters of the Poor convent, then suffocated him inside her room. She had arrived from the Pacific island nation Oct. 5 to study to be a nun.
Amoa’s defense attorney, Judith Pipe, said she received the plea offer from prosecutors Wednesday and needed to review it.
“Ms. Amoa has told everyone she did not know she was pregnant until she gave birth,” Pipe said in court. “There are a lot of facts after the birth of her baby that suggest she was not responsible.”
Judge Robert E. Morin ordered Amoa to continue to be held without bond at the D.C. Jail while awaiting her next hearing Nov. 21. In the days after her arrest, Amoa was hospitalized briefly and was placed under suicide watch.
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