Henrico mother convicted of manslaughter in deaths of newborns 17 years ago

Posted at 11:07 PM, Mar 26, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-26 23:07:53-04

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, Va. -- Darnesha Berry gave birth to twins in a fourth-floor dorm room at St. Paul’s College in 1998. Their bodies were later found in a trash chute.

Seventeen years later, the Henrico mother of three, has been found guilty of two counts of involuntary manslaughter and two counts of felony child neglect.

Walking out of court Thursday, Berry's parents had nothing to say about their daughter’s conviction, but people who've been haunted by this story for almost two decades had no problem sounding off.

"She killed two innocent babies,” said Jean Moody, a Lawrenceville resident. “I’m a mother and would never dream of doing that."

The officer that transported the babies and evidence quickly to Richmond on Feb. 16, 1998 expressed relief. "I’m glad to see we found the mother,” said Asst. Chief Benny Newcomb. “She's been in court and justice has been served."

The Lawrenceville chief of police said the same thing. "The whole community can start healing and baby boy and bay girl have closure," said Chief Everette Gibson.


People who live in that Brunswick county town, also has plenty to say.

"She deserved maximum time if you ask me,” said Edward Thompson. “You can't get away with that. Two babies gone? Right now they'd be 17."

"We all needed some closure and I think this provides it," said Wendy Nash.

Closure is a word you heard a lot in Lawrenceville Thursday, but it may only be temporary.

"We have to wait until the judge finalizes the order and then the family will have to determine if they want to appeal,” said Berry’s defense attorney Paul Gregorio. “But based on the unusual verdict the jury returned, an appeal will likely be forthcoming.”

Gregorio says a child neglect conviction is typically connected to some degree of murder, not involuntary manslaughter.