A woman accused in the deaths of two of her newborns who were thrown into garbage bins has been found not guilty of second-degree murder, but has been convicted on the lesser charge of infanticide.
Justice Peter McIntyre of the Court of Queen’s Bench said there was evidence to suggest that Meredith Borowiec’s mind was disturbed after giving birth, so a murder conviction wasn’t warranted.
“The Crown has proven beyond a reasonable doubt the accused wilfully caused the death of two of her newly born children by abandoning them,” McIntyre ruled Tuesday.
“The Crown has failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that when the accused caused their deaths, her mind was not disturbed from the effects of giving birth to them.”
In interviews with police, Borowiec, now 32, admitted she heard the babies cry before she put them in trash bags and dropped them into garbage bins, but denied doing anything to hurt them before she disposed of them.
Court heard she had her first child in 2008 and didn’t even look to see whether it was a boy or a girl before she wrapped the infant in a towel and put it in a garbage bag.
Borowiec admitted to a similar scenario in 2009 when she again gave birth into a toilet in her northwest Calgary apartment, wrapped the child in a towel and dropped it into the bathroom garbage before walking out to a Dumpster and disposing of it.
In a lengthy video interview with police after her arrest in November, 2011, Borowiec said she heard a noise “like a kitten” after the birth of the first child and, the following year, was aware the second child was alive as well.
“It was a tiny cry,” a tearful Borowiec said in the video as she described the noise coming from the toilet.
“It was like something took over me. It was like I wasn’t in control,” she said.
“I wasn’t normal.”
Second-degree murder carries a sentence of life in prison. Infanticide carries a maximum of five years behind bars.
“The long and short is Miss Borowiec was convicted of wilfully killing two newborns. It’s a difficult case. There were no bodies found and we were going based on the admissions she made to police,” said Crown prosecutor Jayme Williams.
“Where a person would have the defence of infanticide available to them is very rare.”
Williams wouldn’t say what the Crown will be asking for during sentencing, but said the sentences could be consecutive. A sentencing date is to be scheduled Friday.
Borowiec is also charged with attempted murder after another newborn was saved from a trash bin outside the woman’s home in 2010.
A trial on that charge is scheduled for the new year.