Mom feared parents would kick her out if they discovered pregnancy

2012-12-18T08:00:00Z 2012-12-18T08:08:14Z Mom feared parents would kick her out if they discovered pregnancyBy Kim Smith ARIZONA DAILY STAR Arizona Daily Star
December 18, 2012 8:00 am  • 

As you might suspect, Denise Pesqueira spent a great deal of time on the stand during her first-degree murder trial last week.

The jury acquitted her of first-degree murder yesterday, but hung on second-degree murder, manslaughter and negligent homicide. They convicted her of child abuse.

Here's what else she had to say while on the stand:

She told jurors she discovered she was pregnant after going to the hospital to report a rape on Jan. 1, 2009. She did not have a close relationship with her parents and she decided not to tell them she and her boyfriend were expecting a baby because she feared they would throw her out of the house. They blamed her for the rape and knew the strict Catholics would condemn her.

Although she originally planned to keep the baby, she decided to leave the child at St. Mary's Hospital under the state's Safe Baby law once her boyfriend told her he didn’t want the child, Pesqueira said.

She gave birth “really quickly” in her family’s hallway bathroom in the middle of the night Aug. 31, 2009, Pesqueira said. 

The baby, who was pale in color, was the size of both of her hands put together, Pesqueira said. She cried as she recalled cleaning him and wrapping him in what was once her own baby blanket.

He made one noise, she said.

“I don’t know exactly how to describe it,” Pesqueira said. “It sounded like a screech, I guess. It was a very quick sound.”

Her mother heard the noise, knocked on the door and asked her if she was OK, Pesqueira said. She told her mother she’d hurt her foot.

Although she would later tell her friend, Mark Lopez, that moment was a “do or die” moment, Pesqueira insisted she wasn’t talking about killing her baby.

“I could either ‘do’ which was to continue on with my plan or the ‘die’ was I could just open the door and tell my mom I’d just had a baby.”

Pesqueira told the jurors she put the baby on her car’s passenger seat, cleaned up the bathroom and then returned to the car to find the baby dead.

After sitting there a long time, Pesqueira testified she sprinkled holy water on the baby, put him in a garbage bag and placed him in the family’s trash can.

She struggled with her decision for months afterward and opened up to Lopez because she thought they had a “spiritual connection,” Pesqueira said.

“I needed to find forgiveness from myself and from God,” Pesqueira said.

She told her defense attorney, Erin Carrillo, she doesn’t know why she didn’t go to the hospital or call 911 that morning.

When Lopez asked her if she’d suffocated the baby, Pesqueira said she told him she didn’t want to talk about it because she didn’t feel he was being supportive — not because she’d killed the child.

Pesqueira also denied ever telling Lopez putting the baby in the trash was the best decision she ever made.

In response to jurors’ questions, Pesqueira said she didn’t take prenatal vitamins after the first month and did not see an obstetrician during her pregnancy.

Pesqueira will be back in court Jan. 22 for a status conference. The attorneys will discuss whether she will be tried again and when she'll be sentenced on the child abuse count. 

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