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Trial reveals officers found dead newborn wrapped in towel

Posted at 1:29 PM, Mar 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-30 20:31:46-04

PETERSBURG, Va. -- The second trial for a Petersburg mother accused of killing her newborn baby and hiding his body began Wednesday morning.

Kadijah Stewart Mungin, 22, is charged with first-degree murder and concealing a dead body.

According to investigators, Mungin was 21 years old when she asphyxiated her son, Joshua Robert Mungin, inside her Fort Rice Street home and hid his body in September 2014. Joshua was less than a day old.

In court, Mungin pleaded not guilty and jurors heard from a number of witnesses including the father of the baby, Joshua Thomas.

On the stand, Thomas told the court he received weekly updates from Mungin about the baby’s condition while she was a student at James Madison University.

But Thomas said a month after Mungin became pregnant she told him she had a miscarriage and doctors had removed the fetus.

“If she kept it, I would be happy,” Thomas said in court. He told prosecutors he was “shocked” to hear that Mungin had indeed given birth eight months later.

The nurse who administered Mungin’s pregnancy test near the JMU campus also testified. Sylvia Weaver told the court Mungin gave no indication anything was wrong.

The pivotal moment of the day came when prosecutors played a video of a Petersburg detective interviewing Mungin.

She told him she wasn't feeling well the night of September 7, 2014 -- felt like she had to use the restroom -- and gave birth to the newborn in the toilet.

She said she panicked, wrapped a towel around the newborn's body and face, and basically smothered the child.

Before this trial, prosecutors had said baby Joshua died from asphyxiation.

The morning after that happened, Mungin admitted to lying to police, her family and nurses at Southside Regional Medical Center. She told them she had a miscarriage and flushed the fetus down the toilet.

The story didn't sit right with a nurse, who called police. Officers searched Mungin's home and found the baby wrapped in a trash bag under Mungin's bed.

During the interview -- the investigator asked the 21- year old why she did this?

She said she was scared and "freaked out" and that she didn't want to disappoint her family.

The defense will likely begin their case Thursday, likely trying to show that Mungin was a young woman who panicked when she shouldn't have.

Members of Mungin's family were in court and politely declined to comment on the case.

The trial is expected to last three days. Mungin’s first trial ended in a mistrial.