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Babies ‘born alive’ before being tossed in trash, expert testifies in Henrico mom’s murder case

Posted at 2:30 PM, Mar 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-25 06:51:14-04

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, Va. -- Darnesha Berry's college roommate, best friends and the former Virginia chief medical examiner testified Tuesday morning in the case against the mother accused of murdering her newborn babies. Berry is accused of tossing the newborns down a trash chute at Saint Paul’s College 17 years ago.

Her college roommate and friends said they never suspected Berry was even pregnant when the babies were found in their dorm. The friends recalled talking to Berry about who she thought the children's mother could be. While they said there was a point they considered Berry could be involved, they said they quickly dismissed the idea.

The twin babies were born alive, former Virginia chief medical examiner Marcella Fierro testified Tuesday. Fierro said evidence showed the baby boy had lung function and blood on the brain and the baby girl died due to injuries to her head. The babies were between 34-38 weeks of gestation and had a 95 percent survival rate, she said.

Berry's lawyers cross-examined the witnesses Tuesday afternoon. They also challenged Fierro's findings and said the babies were not born alive.

Berry is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, accused of throwing her newborn twins down a trash chute while she attended Saint Paul’s College in 1998.

Berry was indicted in 2014, two years after a report by WTVR CBS 6 senior reporter Wayne Covil shed new light on the once cold case. The report led to new leads and investigators eventually used feminine hygiene products found inside a trash can outside Berry’s Henrico home as evidence that linked her to the babies' deaths.

The jury could meet as early as Wednesday.

This is a developing story.