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An appeals court tossed out a conviction against a Bay Ridge woman accused of killing her newborn baby — a slaying the woman claimed she couldn’t remember committing.
The court overturned Laura Sergio’s first degree murder conviction on Oct. 4, claiming that the prosecution had “numerous gaps in their proof” and the medical examiner “could not determine if the baby was alive when it was born.”
Sergio, 30, claims to have no memory of ever being pregnant, or giving birth in the bathroom of her parents’ home in 2007. A judge convicted her of smothering the newborn and dumping the baby girl in the trash during a bench trial in 2010.
“Finally, justice prevailed,” Sergio’s attorney, Louis Aidala, told reporters. “It restored my faith in our system — from the very beginning, there was no evidence of a crime having been committed.”
Prosecutors alleged Sergio smothered the child and put the baby in a plastic bag before she was taken to Lutheran Medical Center complaining of excruciating cramps and vaginal bleeding.
Doctors at Lutheran realized Sergio had just given birth and sent the police back to the house to find the baby. Responding officers found the newborn’s remains in a garbage bag on the back porch.
A neighbor led police to the remains, according to published reports, screaming from her property, “What you’re looking for is back here.”
An autopsy revealed that the baby died of asphyxiation.
Investigators charged Sergio with murder in the second degree, manslaughter, and endangering the welfare of a child. They also arrested her two sisters, who were accused of helping to hide the baby’s remains. Those charges were later dropped.
Throughout her arrest and trial, Sergio claimed she had no memory of having a baby. She even denied ever being pregnant to the paramedics who pulled her off the blood-soaked bathroom floor that night, according to court documents.
Aidala claims Sergio suffered from amnesia around the time the baby was born, and to this day has no recollection of what happened.
He added the trial was a sham because his client couldn’t remember the crime she’s accused of committing.
“Sergio could not and did not receive a fair trial because of her amnesia,” said the attorney.
Medical experts confirmed Aidala’s claims, but the trial continued because amnesia isn’t a legal defense.
“Amnesia doesn’t exempt someone from criminal responsibility,” said Judge Alan Marrus upon announcing the conviction in 2010.
A 24-year-old woman is suing her ex-beau, claiming the former flame, who is twice her age, told immigration officials that she was a call girl.
Ruzilya Khusnutdinova, 24, claims Vladimir Dranovsky, 42, took sexy pictures of her during their trip together in 2010, and put the photos on escortsexguide.com when the couple broke up a year later, according to court documents released last week.
Dranovsky then contacted U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, claiming that she was a call girl, according to the brief.
The profile, which is still online, shows pictures of Khusnutdinova in a black bra and panties, and describes the Russian immigrant as having “a medium frame and very touchy breasts.”
“From $200 to $600 per hour, depends on [the] fantasy,” the advertisement states.
Khusnutdinova, here on a student visa, told the Daily News that she met Dranovsky, a Brighton Beach dentist, through a Russian dating service, but broke up with him after he became increasingly violent. When they separated, Dranovsky wouldn’t give her passport back unless she paid him $4,000, which prompted her to file grand larceny charges against him.
Dranovsky denies all of the accusations and claims he doesn’t even remember taking pictures of Khusnutdinova.Reach reporter Thomas Tracy at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (718) 260-2525.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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