Woman pleads guilty in killing of newborn
A former Villa Julie College student pleaded guilty to second-degree murder yesterday for suffocating and beating her newborn daughter in her college dormitory last year, court records show.
Danielle Eboni Riley, 21, of Forestville in Prince George's County also entered a guilty plea to child abuse resulting in death in the October killing of the infant, who was 7 1/4 pounds, 39 inches long and healthy when born, Baltimore County prosecutor Susan H. Hazlett said yesterday.
Circuit Judge Vicki Ballou-Watts revoked Riley's bail and ordered that she be held at the county Detention Center until she is sentenced in December.
The prosecutor said she would ask the judge to send the woman to prison for 45 years. The maximum sentence on each of the charges to which Riley pleaded guilty is 30 years. A judge can order that the prison terms be served consecutively.
"She denied the very existence of this child to everyone -- even after she had the baby," Hazlett said. "The only reason we know this child existed is because her roommate heard the crying. She just threw her away. I told the judge, 'She threw her away like so much trash.'"
Defense attorneys John M. McKenna and William C. Brennan could not be reached yesterday. They have declined to comment on the case in the past.
Riley was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in December -- two months after police say she killed the infant in the bathroom of her dorm on Villa Julie's satellite campus in Owings Mills.
The baby was born about 6 a.m. Oct. 3 last year, Hazlett said, when Riley was still enrolled at Villa Julie, which has classrooms in Stevenson and dorms and other facilities in Owings Mills.
One of Riley's roommates was trying to use the bathroom they shared when she heard what sounded like a baby crying, Hazlett said. When the roommate and her friends found what they thought was blood in the bathroom, they called campus security officers, who called police.
Riley gave birth while sitting on the toilet and dumped the baby's body in a trash bag that also contained razors, toilet paper and tampons, Hazlett said. Riley later tossed the trash bag into a storm drain outside her father's home in Prince George's County, the prosecutor said.
Authorities recovered the body the next day, after Riley -- who also has a 4-year-old son -- admitted to police that she had given birth and told them where she disposed of the baby.
6 students shot with BB gun at school
Six students were hit by BB-gun pellets at lunchtime yesterday at Pikesville High School, county police said.
About 11:30 a.m., a large group of students was in an open courtyard area that is surrounded by the school building, and a teacher stationed outside heard "pops -- not gunshots -- but pops," said Cpl. Michael Hill, a police spokesman.
The six students, all boys between 14 and 16, said they felt pain in their arms, chest or back, said Sgt. Vickie Warehime, a spokeswoman for the police. One was also hit in the back of his leg. They were treated by the school nurse and returned to class or went home, Warehime said.
The school was not placed on lockdown, Hill said. Principal Barbara Walker issued a written statement that the school is working with police in their investigation and said that the incident caused no disruption to school activities.
With the help of construction workers at the school, police found a BB pistol under a bush to the rear of the building, Warehime said. Detectives received a description of the person who discarded the gun, she said.
"We're pretty certain that this was somebody that belongs here at the school," Warehime said. Police also are trying to determine why the gun was brought to the school in the first place, she added. "There was no fight, there was nothing that precipitated the gun being discharged," Warehime said.
Executive challenged to debate
Clarence W. Bell Jr., the Republican nominee for Baltimore County executive, has challenged Democratic incumbent James T. Smith Jr. to a debate, but a spokesman for the Smith campaign said Bell must first clarify his stances on issues.
Bell, a state police commander making his first run at elective office, sent an e-mail to Smith's campaign over the weekend requesting at least two debates.
Smith's campaign spokesman said yesterday that the executive has no reason to debate Bell until he speaks more specifically about issues.
"Our position for the time being is that we're eager for Clarence Bell to define his positions on issues facing Baltimore County," Sterling Clifford said. "His platform is a series of pleasant and nonspecific platitudes."
Bell pointed out that he has outlined his stances on his campaign Web site, and that Smith has not attended candidate forums.
"I find it incredulous that they don't believe there are any issues in Baltimore County that deserve debating," Bell said. "My response is they're not our issues. They're issues of the voters, and that's what a debate is for, to allow voters to present issues and allow candidates to respond so voters can make an intelligent choice in November."
Events or news items for the Baltimore County Digest may be submitted to email@example.com. Information should be sent at least 10 days in advance of the event.
An article in Thursday's editions on a former Villa Julie College student's guilty plea to second-degree murder in the death of her newborn daughter incorrectly described the baby's size. The baby was 21 inches long, the prosecutor said.The Sun regrets the error.